CA senator introduces GE labeling bill SB 1381: ‘A simpler, cleaner version of Prop 37’

By Elaine WATSON

- Last updated on GMT

California state senator Noreen Evans
California state senator Noreen Evans

Related tags Genetically modified food Genetically modified organism Genetic engineering

California state senator Noreen Evans (D – Santa Rosa) has introduced a new GMO labeling bill claimed to be a “simpler, cleaner version of Prop 37’.

According to the Center for Food Safety, SB 1381​ is a “cleaned up​” version of Proposition 37*, which failed to attract support from groups that might otherwise have backed it (notably the Natural Products Association) because of concerns that it would lay firms open to "frivolous​" litigation and contained overly restrictive stipulations over 'natural' labeling. 

Specifically, Prop 37 would have banned firms from marketing any ‘processed food’ as ‘natural’ - even if it did not contain any GMOs - prompting NPA chief executive John Shaw to observe that the “road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

SB 1381, by contrast, contains no reference to natural claims, requires plaintiffs to give 60-days of notice before filing any legal action, and would only allow them to collect attorney's fees and costs, and not damages.

It places limits on potential litigation,"  ​a CFS spokeswoman told FoodNavigator-USA.

Meanwhile, it also makes clear that food manufacturers - and not retailers - would be held responsible for disclosing whether foods contained ingredients from GM crops, said the CFS, one of 17 environmental, consumer, food groups and small businesses in the Californians for GE Food Labeling coalition.

Itfurther clarifies the proposed law by explicitly providing protections for farmers and retailers, and places limits on potential litigation​.”

What the bill says

At the heart of SB1381 is a requirement for companies to disclose if foods sold in California are“geneticallyengineered​” (for raw agricultural commodities) or “Produced with Genetic Engineering​” or “Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering​ (for processed foods).

The bill would authorize the Attorney General or an injured resident to bring an action for injunctive relief and would authorize a court to award a successful plaintiff
reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs, but prohibit it from awarding monetary damages.

It excludes certified organic foods, food served in restaurants, and meat and dairy from animals fed GE feed.

Justin Prochnow, an attorney in the Denver office of law firm Greenberg Traurig, noted: "While two states, Connecticut and Maine, have recently passed legislation regarding genetically modified and/or engineered products, those laws are contingent upon four or five other states passing similar laws. The proposed California law has no similar contingency."

*Prop 37 was narrowly rejected by Californians in November 2012 (YES 48.6%; NO: 51.4%).

Click here to read the text of SB 1381​, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.

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We want to know because they haven't been proven safe

Posted by Diana,

The sad truth of the matter is that GMOs are bad science. Their safety for human consumption has in fact *never* been proven (look it up!), while more and more research comes out that genes are not linearly related to traits. They migrate, they do things that we did not plan on. The complete lack of oversight by the FDA for the GMO industry is appalling, so consumers are simply trying to take it into their own hands.

You should be able to preemptively prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that GMO crops are as safe for human consumption as traditional, non-GMO crops before you call them safe. That has no been proven.

Regardless of your beliefs about GMOs, this is nothing more than a right to information, and people who oppose it are opposing freedom of information.

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Common Sense

Posted by Mike Johnson,

Technology has helped us grow to become what we are today. It definitely has it's place & the potential to better our lives; Nicola Tesla, Stan Meyer, the 50 cent microscope, etc. but Technology DOES NOT BELONG ON & ESPECIALLY IN OUR FOOD!

Whole, natural, untreated, REAL Food is one of the last sacred things we have left. Gardening (at least some of) our own food SHOULD BE as important as WAKING UP IN THE MORNING!

But if biotech continues on it's path EVERYTHING will become contaminated & owned by corporations, maybe, possibly, even our own lives?

All we want are LABELS! It won't cost a dime to add a little more ink.

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What Am I Eating?

Posted by Dan McCrory,

People are buying into the BS perpetuated by Agribusiness and Monsanto that caused Prop 37 to go down in defeat. Manufacturers are required to label in Europe. We're not talking about banning Frankenfood, we're talking about LABELING so that consumers can make an informed decision about the food they put in their bodies. What's wrong with that?

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