Requires labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. Prohibits labeling or advertising such food as “natural.” Exempts foods that are: certified organic; unintentionally produced with genetically engineered material; made from animals fed or injected with genetically engineered material but not genetically engineered themselves; processed with or containing only small amounts of genetically engineered ingredients; administered for treatment of medical conditions; sold for immediate consumption such as in a restaurant; or alcoholic beverages. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government:
Potential increase in state administrative costs of up to one million dollars annually to monitor compliance with the disclosure requirements specified in the measure. Unknown, but potentially significant, costs for the courts, the Attorney General, and district attorneys due to litigation resulting from possible violations to the provisions of this measure. (11-0099)
This will be a ‘first in the nation’ law if voters approve it on November 6 – a requirement that all genetically modified foods be labeled as such.
Prop 37 has polled extremely well in recent weeks, with voters seeming eager to label GMO foods.
But ‘Big Food’ – the agriculture and corporate food industry – has mounted a huge, expensive campaign against Prop 37. They argue that the labeling rules are so broad that virtually all foods would have to be labeled in stores, with attorneys being able to pursue legal challenges against stores where labels can’t be seen.
But aside from that, Prop 37 opponents also clearly see this as a fight that, in their eyes, will spread across the nation if they lose it here in California.