California GMO Labeling Bill Passes Senate Committee

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Heather Callaghan

California is among the 20+ states that currently have GMO labeling bills on the table. Vermont’s bill is expected to be the first to pass as it is on the track to its Governor.

California’s bill is SB 1381 you can see both its original and revised form here.

California GMO Labeling Bill Passes Senate Committee

In late March, the bill passed California Senate Health Committee by a 5-2 vote (two absent).

But it needs to go through either the Senate Judiciary or Agriculture Committee and is expected to be heard this week at the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Energy Fanatics highlighted some points from the bill (changes in the bill’s text are possible):

  • California consumers have the right to know whether the foods they purchase were genetically modified, so they can make informed purchasing decisions.
  • Many nationwide polls have shown that the majority of the American people support GMO labeling.
  • There is currently no federal or California law that requires genetically modified food to be labeled, which is why bill SB 1381 needs to become a law.
  • 64 countries already have laws mandating the labeling of GMO, including China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Russia, Malaysia and the European Union member states.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t require safety studies of GMO and therefore more studies need to be done on the safety of genetically modified food.
  • Many scientists have stated that the current process used for genetic engineering in food can increase levels of allergens in the food and produce unforeseen consequences, leading to health and environmental problems.
Center for Food Safety is brimming with support. It’s west coast director, Rebecca Spector said:

One of the great freedoms we have as Americans is the basic right to choose from a variety of different foods in the marketplace. However these freedoms are being denied to the more than 90 percent of Americans who want to know if their food is produced using genetic engineering, because these products are not required to be labeled in the U.S, said Spector.

SB 1381 is a step toward protecting these state interests, and we are very pleased that the Senate Health Committee passed the bill today.

Again, though, something to bear in mind is State initiatives like the above may fall prey to a new federal bill just introduced, that could banish all state efforts to label GMOs. The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014 is being called the DARK Act by opponents because it would ban state measures to label and defer to the FDA – who relies solely on the word of Big Biotech.

In other words, it wouldn’t matter if Vermont or California passed a state labeling bill. Their efforts would be nullified and the matter silenced forever.

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