A proposed constitutional amendment declaring Mainers have a "right to food freedom" is facing defeat.

The Maine Senate on Wednesday rejected the measure in an initial vote after no debate. The vote was 18-13, well short of the two-thirds majority required.

Proponents say burdensome federal licensing and safety regulations make it prohibitively expensive for small-scale farmers and food producers in Maine to sell their food. The amendment could have led to relaxed safety standards for small-scale food producers.

The House on Tuesday voted 97-45 to send the proposed constitutional amendment to Maine voters. But Republican Sen. Peter Edgecomb, co-chairman of the Legislature's agriculture committee, said it posed a risk to public health because it would have weakened food safety regulations for small food producers. (AP)