Genetically Engineered Label Proposed

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, April 4, 2014 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) introduced SB 1381 which would “require that any food, except as provided, offered for retail sale in the state be considered misbranded if it is entirely or partially genetically engineered and that fact is not disclosed in a specified manner.” The bill would prescribe labeling requirements for a raw agricultural commodity that is genetically engineered and packaged foods containing some products of genetic engineering. The bill would also prescribe who is responsible for complying with those labeling requirements. The effective date is currently January 1, 2015.

This bill will create a California-only label that unjustly stigmatizes foods that have never been scientifically proven to negatively impact public health.  Over 400 scientific studies have shown foods made with genetically engineered ingredients are safe, and the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, the National Academy of Science, and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration all agree. 

Based on a study during the recent campaign against Proposition 37, it was determined that such a labeling scheme and increased liability would add $400 annually to the average family’s grocery bill, disproportionately impacting low and fixed income populations.

Genetically engineered products have the promise of solving the world’s food shortages and allowing products to be grown using far less water.  Interestingly, Senator Evans, who represents a district known for winemaking, has exempted or at least attempted to exempt alcoholic beverages.

This bill not only gives the Attorney General authority to enforce the provisions, but also calls for a private right of action.

SB 1381 was passed out of the Senate Health Committee last week, but was triple referred and will also be heard in the Senate Agriculture and Senate Judiciary Committees.  CMTA strongly opposes this bill.

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