An effort to make Maine the principal state to require labels on foods made with the control of small particles was shot down Thursday by a legislative committee.
Previous Rep. John Eder needed Maine to require labels for food products made with nanotechnology. Nanotechnology enables researchers to control atoms and molecules and is touted by some as an approach to improve the appearance or nutritional quality of food. Maine’s Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry collectively dismissed the labeling idea during a meeting.
Democratic Sen. Ben Chipman, of Portland, who presented the bill and worked with Eder on it, portrayed the proposition as a pro-consumer exertion established in the belief that “people should know what’s in their food.” But nourishment technologists and individuals from the Maine nourishment industry advised that requiring such a label could make the express a special case in a nation where no such labels exist.
Eder recognized that his proposition faced long odds and included the exertion kicked the discussion off about how nanotechnology in nourishment ought to be controlled at the state level. The agriculture committee agreed to send a letter guiding the Maine Department of Agriculture to think about the issue further.
“It’s really a brave new world,” said Eder, a Biddeford resident. “What’s unknown is the risk to human health.”
The World Health Organization released a report about nanotechnology in nourishment generation in 2013. It expresses that nourishment can be “can be cultivated, produced, processed or packaged with nanotechnology, or engineered nanomaterials can be added to food.” The report also states that it’s “important to consider all areas potentially associated with food safety” in using the technology.
A representative for the National Conference of State Legislatures said the Maine bill appeared to be the U.S’s. first exertion to label food made with the utilization of nanotechnology.
The agriculture committee held a public hearing on the bill March 5, and the proposition got inquiries from puzzled lawmakers and a chilly reception from a couple of Maine trade groups. Greg Dugal, director of government issues for HospitalityMaine, said a labeling law would give Maine “outlier status” among the states.
Christine Cummings, executive director of the Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association, said the U.S. Nourishment and Drug Administration is treating nanotechnology as “an evolving science.” She said requiring labeling as of now would make a new burden on Maine’s sustenance investigators and nourishment providers, among others.
The labeling push harkened back to Maine’s endeavor to end up one of the principal states to require labeling of nourishments made with genetic engineering, or genetically modified organisms. That exertion was in the long run pre-empted by a government labeling standard.
Prior to Thursday’s vote, Maria Velissariou, chief science and technology officer for the Chicago-based Institute of Food Technologists, told The Associated Press in an email that the state would be wise to continue with alert about labeling.
“Prior to legislation being passed, there is a need to clarify key terms, including nanotechnology, and in the context of food. Any proposal of this nature should be vetted by stakeholders, including the scientific community,” she said.