INTRODUCED BY   Senator Evans

                        FEBRUARY 21, 2014

   An act to add Section 110663 to, and to add Article 6.6
(commencing with Section 110808) to Chapter 5 of Part 5 of Division
104 of, the Health and Safety Code, relating to genetically
engineered food.


   SB 1381, as introduced, Evans. Food labeling: genetically
engineered food.
   Existing law, the Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Law makes it
unlawful to manufacture, sell, deliver, hold, or offer for sale, any
food that is misbranded. Food is misbranded if its labeling does not
conform to specified state and federal labeling requirements
regarding nutrition, nutrient content or health claims, and food
allergens. Violation of this law is a misdemeanor.
   This bill 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, as defined, 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, as defined, containing
some products of genetic engineering. The bill would also prescribe
who is responsible for complying with those labeling requirements.
The bill would authorize the Attorney General or an injured resident
of the state to bring an action for injunctive relief against a
violation of these provisions, as specified. The bill would authorize
a court to award a prevailing plaintiff reasonable attorneys' fees
and costs, and would prohibit a court from awarding monetary damages
in an action brought under the bill's provisions.
   Because this bill would create new crimes by expanding the number
of foods that could potentially be misbranded and expanding the
definition of the crime of perjury, it would impose a state-mandated
local program.
    The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local
agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the
state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
   This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this
act for a specified reason.
   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: yes.


  SECTION 1.  The Legislature finds and declares all of the
   (a) California consumers have the right to know, through labeling,
whether the foods they purchase were produced with genetic
engineering, so they can make informed purchasing decisions.
   (b) Polls consistently show that the vast majority of the members
of the public, more than 90 percent, want to know, for health,
economic, environmental, religious, and ethical reasons, if the food
they purchase was produced with genetic engineering.
   (c) There is currently no federal or California requirement that
genetically engineered (GE) foods be labeled. In contrast, 64
countries, including three of California's leading trading partners,
Japan, China, and the European Union member states, as well as South
Korea, Australia, Russia, and Malaysia, already have laws mandating
that foods produced through genetic engineering be labeled.
   (d) The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not
require safety studies of GE foods. Instead, any consultations are
voluntary and GE food developers may decide what information to
provide to the FDA.
   (e) Genetic engineering of plants and animals can cause unintended
consequences. It has been demonstrated that manipulating genes
through genetic engineering and inserting them into organisms is an
imprecise process. The results are not always predictable or
   (f) United States government scientists have stated that the
artificial insertion of genetic material into plants via genetic
engineering can increase the levels of known toxicants or allergens
in foods and create new toxicants or allergens with consequent health
   (g) Mandatory identification of foods produced with genetic
engineering can provide a method for detecting, at a large
epidemiological scale, the potential health effects of consuming
those foods.
   (h) Without mandatory disclosure, consumers of foods produced
through genetic engineering may unknowingly violate their dietary and
religious beliefs.
   (i) Numerous foreign markets with restrictions on foods produced
through genetic engineering have restricted imports of United States
crops due to concerns about genetic engineering. Some foreign markets
are choosing to purchase agricultural products from countries other
than the United States because GE crops are not identified in the
United States, which makes it impossible for buyers to determine what
does or does not meet their national labeling laws or restrictions
and thus renders United States products less desirable.
   (j) Mandatory identification of foods produced with genetic
engineering can be a critical method of preserving the economic value
of exports or domestically sensitive markets with restrictions on,
or prohibitions against, genetic engineering. With such a large
export market, GE labeling requirements will give importers greater
confidence in California's agricultural products.
   (k) Agriculture is a major economic driver in California, with
more than 400 commodities generating $43.5 billion in revenue in the
year 2011. California is the nation's leading agricultural producer,
generating half of the nation's fruits, nuts, and vegetables.
Agricultural exports in the year 2011 generated $16.8 billion in
revenue, representing 39 percent of total production. Preserving the
identity, quality, and reliability of California's agricultural
products and exports is critical to the state's economic well-being.
   (l) GE crops pose a potential threat to the state's $1.39 billion
organic agriculture sector. Organic production accounted for 3.1
percent of total agriculture earnings in the state and 39 percent of
organic sales nationally in the year 2011. Organic farmers are
prohibited from using genetically engineered seeds or feed, yet have
no protection against possible unintended transgenic contamination
from neighboring farms. This is a particular concern for California's
organic dairy farmers, who generated $127 million in revenue in the
year 2011. Food labeling gives consumers the right to support food
production systems that do not threaten the integrity and economic
well-being of organic agriculture and California's exports.
   (m) United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data shows that
California ranks first in organic farm-gate sales. This important
element of California's economy must be protected. Foods identified
as non-GE constitute the fastest growing segment in agriculture, with
annual sales increases in the year 2011 between 20 and 27 percent.
However, only a small portion of the food industry participates in
voluntary labeling of foods claimed not to be the product of genetic
engineering. There are no consistent standards for that labeling, or
for the enforcement of voluntary labels. Thus, voluntary labeling is
insufficient to provide consumers with adequate information on
whether the food they are purchasing was produced with genetic
engineering, and in some cases the labels may be misleading.
   (n) The cultivation of GE crops can have serious effects on the
environment. For example, in the year 2012, 93 percent of all soy
grown in the United States was genetically engineered to be herbicide
resistant. In fact, the vast majority of GE crops are designed to
withstand herbicides and they, therefore, promote indiscriminate
herbicide use. As a result, GE crops have caused 527 million pounds
of additional herbicides to be applied to the nation's farmland.
These toxic herbicides damage the vitality and quality of our soil,
contaminate our drinking water, and pose health risks to consumers
and farmworkers. Further, because of the consequent massive increase
in herbicide use, herbicide-resistant weeds have developed and
flourished, infesting farm fields and roadsides, complicating weed
control for farmers, and causing farmers to resort to more and
increasingly toxic herbicides.
   (o) The FDA is currently proposing approval of the first GE salmon
for human consumption. Wild Pacific salmon are a critical natural
and cultural resource of California and are under increasing
environmental stress. More than 106 major salmon runs in northern
California and the Pacific Northwest are extinct and another 214 runs
of wild salmon are at risk of extinction. An escaped GE fish could
pose additional environmental risk to California's already stressed
wild salmon populations and coastal ecosystems by, among other
things, imposing new competitive pressures on these populations for
food and space, interfering with effective breeding and reproduction,
and spreading disease. The west coast salmon fishing industry,
including both commercial and recreational components, has lost an
estimated 72,000 jobs during the last 20 years. In the face of market
confusion, seafood consumers may avoid purchasing salmon altogether
to avoid genetically engineered salmon which would further negatively
impact California's wild salmon fishermen.
   (p) The people of California should have the choice to avoid
purchasing foods produced in ways that can lead to that environmental
   (q) Labeling of foods produced through genetic engineering as
provided in this act can be implemented without substantial burden to
either food producers or the government.
  SEC. 2.  It is the intent of the Legislature, with the enactment of
this act, to require the labeling of all foods produced with genetic
engineering sold within the state.
  SEC. 3.  Section 110663 is added to the Health and Safety Code, to
   110663.  A food is misbranded if its labeling does not conform to
the requirements of Section 110809.
  SEC. 4.  Article 6.6 (commencing with Section 110808) is added to
Chapter 5 of Part 5 of Division 104 of the Health and Safety Code, to

      Article 6.6.  The California Right to Know Genetically
Engineered Food Act

   110808.  The following definitions shall apply for the purposes of
this article only:
   (a) "Agriculture" means the science, art, or practice of
cultivating the soil, producing crops, and raising livestock or fish
and, in varying degrees, the preparation and marketing of the
resulting products.
   (b) "Cultivated commercially" means grown or raised by a person in
the course of business or trade, and sold within the United States.
   (c) "Food" shall have the meaning set forth in Section 109935,
except that "food" as used in this article includes only food for
human consumption and not any food for consumption by animals.
   (d) "Food facility" shall have the meaning set forth in Section
   (e) (1) "Genetically engineered" means produced from an organism
or organisms in which the genetic material has been changed through
the application of either of the following:
   (A) (i) In vitro nucleic acid techniques, which include, but are
not limited to, recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or
ribonucleic acid (RNA) direct injection of nucleic acid into cells or
organelles, encapsulation, gene deletion, and doubling.
   (ii) "In vitro nucleic acid techniques" include, but are not
limited to, recombinant DNA or RNA techniques that use vector
systems, and techniques involving the direct introduction into the
organisms of hereditary materials prepared outside the organisms such
as biolistics, microinjection, macroinjection, chemoporation,
electroporation, microencapsulation, and liposome fusion.
   (B) Methods of fusing cells beyond the taxonomic family that
overcome natural physiological, reproductive, or recombinant
barriers, and that are not techniques used in traditional breeding
and selection such as conjugation, transduction, and hybridization.
   (2) "Genetically engineered" does not include an animal who has
not itself been genetically engineered, regardless of whether that
animal has been fed or injected with any food or any drug that has
been produced through means of genetic engineering.
   (f) "Label" shall have the meaning set forth in Section 109955.
   (g) "Labeling" shall have the meaning set forth in Section 109960.

   (h) "Manufacturer" means the person or entity that makes,
processes, combines, or packages food ingredients into a finished
   (i) "Medical food" shall have the meaning set forth in Section
   (j) "Organism" means any biological entity capable of replication,
reproduction, or transferring genetic material.
   (k) "Packaged food" means any food offered for retail sale in the
state, other than raw food and food served, sold, or provided ready
to eat in any bake sale, restaurant, or cafeteria that are subject to
the provisions of Article 6 (commencing with Section 110660).
   (l) "Raw agricultural commodity" shall have the meaning set forth
in Section 110020.
   (m) "Supplier" means a person or entity that engages in the
operation of selling or distributing raw agricultural commodities
that the person or entity has produced, purchased, or acquired from a
   110809.  Any raw agricultural commodity or packaged food that is
entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering shall be
labeled in accordance with this article and is misbranded if not
labeled in accordance with this article.
   110809.1.  (a) (1) A manufacturer of a raw agricultural commodity
packaged for retail sale shall include the words "Genetically
Engineered" clearly and conspicuously on the front or back of the
package of that commodity.
   (2) A retailer of a raw agricultural commodity that is not
separately packaged or labeled shall place a clear and conspicuous
label on the retail store shelf or bin in which that commodity is
displayed for sale.
   (3) A supplier of a raw agricultural commodity shall label each
container used for packaging, holding, or transporting a raw
agricultural commodity produced with genetic engineering that is
delivered directly to a retailer in the state.
   (b) A manufacturer of packaged food containing some products of
genetic engineering shall label the product in clear and conspicuous
language on the front or back of the package of that food product
with the words "Produced with Genetic Engineering" or "Partially
Produced with Genetic Engineering."
   (c) This section shall not be construed to require a label that
lists or identifies an ingredient that was genetically engineered, or
that the words "genetically engineered" be placed immediately
preceding any common name or primary product descriptor of a food.
   110809.2.  (a) The Attorney General may bring an action to enjoin
a violation of this article in any court of competent jurisdiction.
   (b) Except as provided in subdivision (c), an injured resident of
the state may, 60 days after giving notice of the alleged violation
to the Attorney General and the alleged violator, bring an action to
enjoin a violation of this article by a manufacturer or retailer in
any court of competent jurisdiction. The court may award to a
prevailing plaintiff reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred in
investigating and prosecuting the action. The court shall not award
monetary damages.
   (c) Neither injunctive relief nor attorneys' fees and costs shall
be granted with respect to failure to label any of the following.
   (1) Packaged food in which the materials produced through genetic
engineering account for nine-tenths of 1 percent or less of the total
   (2) Food produced without knowledge or intent to use genetic
   (d) Food is produced without knowledge or intent to use genetic
engineering under any of the following conditions:
   (1) The food is lawfully certified to be labeled, marketed, and
offered for sale as "organic" pursuant to the federal Organic Foods
Production Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. Sec. 6501 et seq.).
   (2) A manufacturer or retailer who obtained a sworn statement from
the supplier that the food was produced without knowledge or intent
to use genetic engineered and has been segregated from, and not
knowingly or intentionally commingled with, foods that may have been
genetically engineered.
   (3) (A) An independent organization has determined that the food
was produced without knowledge or intent to use genetic engineering
and has been segregated from, and not knowingly or intentionally
commingled with, foods that may have been genetically engineered.
   (B) The determination has been made pursuant to a sampling and
testing procedure (i) consistent with sampling and testing principles
recommended by internationally recognized standards organizations
and (ii) which does not rely on testing processed foods in which no
DNA is detectable.
   (e) A retailer that is not the producer or the manufacturer of
food the retailer sells under its brand is not liable under this
article except if the retailer knowingly and willfully fails to
provide point-of-purchase labeling for an unpackaged raw agricultural
commodity. It is a defense in an action under this section that a
retailer reasonably relied on a disclosure that the food was not
produced through genetic engineering that is contained in the bill of
sale or invoice provided by the wholesaler or distributor of the
   (f) No action shall be brought under this section against a farmer
who is not a retailer or manufacturer. A farmer who swears a false
statement under this section remains subject to laws pertaining to
   (g) The department shall adopt and enforce regulations necessary
to implement this article.
  SEC. 5.   The provisions of this act are severable. If any
provision of this act or its application is held invalid, that
invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can
be given effect without the invalid provision or application.
  SEC. 6.   No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school
district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or
infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty
for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the
Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the
meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California