I am writing today as a concerned mother, daughter, wife, student and friend. A bill is now before our Legislature, L.D. 1326, that would require all foods with genetically modified ingredients to be clearly labeled for the consumer.

We view food as fuel for our bodies, and that fuel is what keeps us healthy. By choosing to eat healthy or organic, we assume that harmful ingredients are removed from our diet. Sadly, this is not the case with our current laws.

With the increased use of GMOs, food allergies, cancers, autism, chronic illnesses and infertility have all increased as well. GMOs are not the only factor correlating with these increases, but it is a link that cannot be ignored. There is recurring rhetoric that if we label our foods, it will cost us money – but is our health something we should ever take a shortcut on?

Labeling GMO foods is not a new concept, 64 countries around the world have GMO labeling laws, and it is sad that the United States of America, the supposed leader of the world, has yet to establish one.

The opponents of GMO labeling say that increased costs would not outweigh the benefits. The same excuse was used when we learned that cigarettes were harmful – and companies opposed labeling that potential health risk as well.

It is our right to choose what we put into our bodies, and we have the right to know if we are putting our health at risk. We especially have this right for our children who depend on us to take care of their health and well-being.

I urge Maine citizens to reach out to their local senators and representatives before the Feb. 25 work session and ask for their support and be on the right side of this debate.

Elizabeth Hanz