SB 1381, as amended, 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
begin delete also prescribe who is
responsible for complying with thoseend delete 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
begin delete and expanding the definition of the crime of perjuryend delete,
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 reimbursement.
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.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
The Legislature finds and declares all of the
3(a) California consumers have the right to know, through
4labeling, whether the foods they purchase were produced with
5genetic engineering, so they can make informed purchasing
7(b) Polls consistently show that the vast majority of the members
8of the public, more than 90 percent, want to know, for health,
9economic, environmental, religious, and ethical reasons, if the
10food they purchase was produced with genetic engineering.
15 There is currently no federal or California requirement that
16genetically engineered (GE) foods be labeled. In contrast, 64
17countries, including three of California’s leading trading partners,
18Japan, China, and the European Union member states, as well as
19South Korea, Australia, Russia, and Malaysia, already have laws
20mandating that foods produced through genetic engineering be
P3 1(d)end delete
2 The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
3does not require safety studies of GE foods. Instead, any
4consultations are voluntary and GE food developers may decide
5what information to provide to the FDA.
7 Genetic engineering of plants and animals can cause
8unintended consequences. It has been demonstrated that
9manipulating genes through genetic engineering and inserting them
10into organisms is an imprecise process. The results are not always
11predictable or controllable.
13 United States government scientists have stated that the
14artificial insertion of genetic material into plants via genetic
15engineering can increase the levels of known toxicants or allergens
16in foods and create new toxicants or allergens with consequent
19 Mandatory identification of foods produced with genetic
20engineering can provide a method for detecting, at a large
21epidemiological scale, the potential health effects of consuming
23(h) Without mandatory disclosure, consumers of foods produced
24through genetic engineering may unknowingly violate their dietary
25and religious beliefs.
26(i) Numerous foreign markets with restrictions on
27produced through genetic engineering have restricted imports of
28United States crops due to concerns about genetic engineering.
29Some foreign markets are choosing to purchase agricultural
30products from countries other than the United States because GE
31crops are not identified in the United States, which makes it
32impossible for buyers to determine what does or does not meet
33their national labeling laws or restrictions and thus renders United
34States products less desirable.
35(j) Mandatory identification of foods produced with genetic
36engineering can be a critical method of preserving the economic
37value of exports or domestically sensitive markets with restrictions
38on, or prohibitions against, genetic engineering. With such a large
39export market, GE labeling requirements will give importers greater
40confidence in California’s agricultural products.
P4 1(k) Agriculture is a major economic driver in California, with
2more than 400 commodities generating $43.5 billion in revenue
3in the year 2011. California is the nation’s leading agricultural
4producer, generating half of the nation’s fruits, nuts, and
5vegetables. Agricultural exports in the year 2011 generated $16.8
6billion in revenue, representing 39 percent of total production.
7Preserving the identity, quality, and reliability of California’s
8agricultural products and exports is critical to the state’s economic
10(l) GE crops pose a potential threat to the state’s $1.39 billion
11organic agriculture sector. Organic production accounted for 3.1
12percent of total agriculture earnings in the state and 39 percent of
13organic sales nationally in the year 2011. Organic farmers are
14prohibited from using genetically engineered seeds or feed, yet
15have no protection against possible unintended transgenic
16contamination from neighboring farms. This is a particular concern
17for California’s organic dairy farmers, who generated $127 million
18in revenue in the year 2011. Food labeling gives consumers the
19right to support food production systems that do not threaten the
20integrity and economic well-being of organic agriculture and
22(m) United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data
23shows that California ranks first in organic farm-gate sales. This
24important element of California’s economy must be protected.
25Foods identified as non-GE constitute the fastest growing segment
26in agriculture, with annual sales increases in the year 2011 between
2720 and 27 percent. However, only a small portion of the food
28industry participates in voluntary labeling of foods claimed not to
29be the product of genetic engineering. There are no consistent
30standards for that labeling, or for the enforcement of voluntary
31labels. Thus, voluntary labeling is insufficient to provide consumers
32with adequate information on whether the food they are purchasing
33was produced with genetic engineering, and in some cases the
34labels may be misleading.
4 The cultivation of GE crops can have serious effects on the
5environment. For example, in the year 2012, 93 percent of all soy
6grown in the United States was genetically engineered to be
7herbicide resistant. In fact, the vast majority of GE crops are
8designed to withstand herbicides and they, therefore, promote
9indiscriminate herbicide use. As a result, GE crops have caused
10527 million pounds of additional herbicides to be applied to the
11nation’s farmland. These toxic herbicides damage the vitality and
12quality of our soil, contaminate our drinking water, and pose health
13risks to consumers and farmworkers. Further, because of the
14consequent massive increase in herbicide use, herbicide-resistant
15weeds have developed and flourished, infesting farm fields and
16roadsides, complicating weed control for farmers, and causing
17farmers to resort to more and increasingly toxic herbicides.
19 The FDA is currently proposing approval of the first GE
20salmon for human consumption. Wild Pacific salmon are a critical
21natural and cultural resource of California and are under increasing
22environmental stress. More than 106 major salmon runs in northern
23California and the Pacific Northwest are extinct and another 214
24runs of wild salmon are at risk of extinction. An escaped GE fish
25could pose additional environmental risk to California’s already
26stressed wild salmon populations and coastal ecosystems by, among
27other things, imposing new competitive pressures on these
28populations for food and space, interfering with effective breeding
29and reproduction, and spreading disease. The west coast salmon
30fishing industry, including both commercial and recreational
31components, has lost an estimated 72,000 jobs during the last 20
32years. In the face of market confusion, seafood consumers may
33avoid purchasing salmon altogether to avoid genetically engineered
34salmon which would further negatively impact California’s wild
37 The people of California should have the choice to avoid
38purchasing foods produced in ways that can lead to that
P6 1 Labeling of foods produced through genetic engineering as
2provided in this act can be implemented without substantial burden
3to either food producers or the government.
It is the intent of the Legislature, with the enactment
5of this act, to require the labeling of all foods produced with genetic
6engineering sold within the state.
Section 110663 is added to the Health and Safety Code,
A food is misbranded if its labeling does not conform
10to the requirements of Section 110809.
Article 6.6 (commencing with Section 110808) is
12added to Chapter 5 of Part 5 of Division 104 of the Health and
13Safety Code, to read:
The following definitions shall apply for the purposes
19of this article only:
20(a) “Agriculture” means the science, art, or practice of
21cultivating the soil, producing crops, and raising livestock or fish
22and, in varying degrees, the preparation and marketing of the
24(b) “Cultivated commercially” means grown or raised by a
25person in the course of business or trade, and sold within the United
28 “Food” shall have the meaning set forth in Section 109935,
29except that “food” as used in this article includes only food for
30human consumption and not any food for consumption by animals.
31(d) “Food facility” shall have the meaning set forth in Section
34 (1) “Genetically engineered” means produced from an
35organism or organisms in which the genetic material has been
36changed through the application of either of the following:
37(A) (i) In vitro nucleic acid techniques, which include, but are
38not limited to, recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or
39ribonucleic acid (RNA) direct injection of nucleic acid into cells
40or organelles, encapsulation, gene deletion, and doubling.
P7 1(ii) “In vitro nucleic acid techniques” include, but are not limited
2to, recombinant DNA or RNA techniques that use vector systems,
3and techniques involving the direct introduction into the organisms
4of hereditary materials prepared outside the organisms such as
5biolistics, microinjection, macroinjection, chemoporation,
6 electroporation, microencapsulation, and liposome fusion.
7(B) Methods of fusing cells beyond the taxonomic family that
8overcome natural physiological, reproductive, or recombinant
9barriers, and that are not techniques used in traditional breeding
10and selection such as conjugation, transduction, and hybridization.
11(2) “Genetically engineered” does not include an animal who
12has not itself been genetically engineered, regardless of whether
13that animal has been fed or injected with any food or any drug that
14has been produced through means of genetic engineering.
18 “Label” shall have the meaning set forth in Section 109955.
20 “Labeling” shall have the meaning set forth in Section
23 “Manufacturer” means the person or entity that makes,
24processes, combines, or packages food ingredients into a finished
26(i) “Medical food” shall have the meaning set forth in Section
29 “Organism” means any biological entity capable of
30replication, reproduction, or transferring genetic material.
32 “Packaged food” means any food offered for retail sale in
33the state, other than raw food and food served, sold, or provided
34ready to eat in any bake sale, restaurant, or cafeteria that are subject
35to the provisions of Article 6 (commencing with Section 110660).
37 “Raw agricultural commodity” shall have the meaning set
38forth in Section 110020.
P8 1(m)end delete
2 “Supplier” means a person or entity that engages in the
3operation of selling or distributing raw agricultural commodities
4that the person or entity has produced, purchased, or acquired from
Any raw agricultural commodity or packaged
7food that is entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering
8shall be labeled in accordance with this article and is misbranded
9if not labeled in accordance with this article.
(a) (1) A manufacturer of a raw agricultural
15commodity packaged for retail sale shall include the words
16“Genetically Engineered” clearly and conspicuously on the front
17or back of the package of that commodity.
18(2) A retailer of a raw agricultural commodity that is not
19separately packaged or labeled shall place a clear and conspicuous
20label on the retail store shelf or bin in which that commodity is
21displayed for sale.
22(3) A supplier of a raw agricultural commodity shall label each
23container used for packaging, holding, or transporting a raw
24agricultural commodity produced with genetic engineering that is
25delivered directly to a retailer in the state.
26(b) A manufacturer of packaged food containing some products
27of genetic engineering shall label the product in clear and
28conspicuous language on the front or back of the package of that
29food product with the words “Produced with Genetic Engineering”
30or “Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering.”
31(c) This section shall not be construed to require a label that
32lists or identifies an ingredient that was genetically engineered, or
33that the words “genetically engineered” be placed immediately
34preceding any common name or primary product descriptor of a
(a) The Attorney General may bring an action to
2enjoin a violation of this article in any court of competent
4(b) Except as provided in subdivision (c), an injured resident
5of the state may, 60 days after giving notice of the alleged violation
6to the Attorney General and the alleged violator, bring an action
7to enjoin a violation of this article by a manufacturer or retailer in
8any court of competent jurisdiction. The court may award to a
9prevailing plaintiff reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs incurred
10in investigating and prosecuting the action. The court shall not
11award monetary damages.
injunctive relief nor attorneys’ fees and costs shall
13be granted with respect to failure to label any of the
begin delete following.end delete
15(1) Packaged food in which the materials produced through
16genetic engineering account for nine-tenths of 1 percent or less of
17the total weight.
18(2) Food produced without knowledge or intent to use genetic
23(d) Food is produced without knowledge or intent to use genetic
begin delete anyend delete of the following conditions:
25(1) The food is lawfully certified to be labeled, marketed, and
26offered for sale as “organic” pursuant to the federal Organic Foods
27Production Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. Sec. 6501 et seq.).
28(2) A manufacturer or retailer who obtained a sworn statement
29from the supplier that the food was produced without knowledge
30or intent to use genetic engineered and has been segregated from,
31and not knowingly or intentionally commingled with, foods that
32may have been genetically engineered.
26 33(3)end delete
34 (A) An independent organization has determined that the
35food was produced without knowledge or intent to use genetic
36engineering and has been segregated from, and not knowingly or
37intentionally commingled with, foods that may have been
39(B) The determination has been made pursuant to a sampling
40and testing procedure (i) consistent with sampling and testing
P10 1principles recommended by internationally recognized standards
2organizations and (ii) which does not rely on testing processed
3foods in which no DNA is detectable.
4(e) A retailer that is not the producer or the manufacturer of
5food the retailer sells under its brand is not liable under this article
6except if the retailer knowingly and willfully fails to provide
7point-of-purchase labeling for an unpackaged raw agricultural
8commodity. It is a defense in an action under this section that a
9retailer reasonably relied on a disclosure that the food was not
10produced through genetic engineering that is contained in the bill
11of sale or invoice provided by the wholesaler or distributor of the
13(f) No action shall be brought under this section against a farmer
14who is not a retailer or manufacturer.
begin deleteA farmer who swears a false
15statement under this section remains subject to laws pertaining to
17(g) The department shall adopt and enforce regulations necessary
18to implement this article.
The provisions of this act are severable. If any
22provision of this act or its application is held invalid, that invalidity
23shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given
24effect without the invalid provision or application.
No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
26Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
27the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school
28district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or
29infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty
30for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of
31the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within
32the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California