Bag of Groceries

Still a sore spot for Californians who voted in favor of 2012’s failed Prop 37—the bill that would have mandated labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients—the prospect of a GMO labeling law is gaining new life in a California Senate bill.

Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) introduced a GMO labeling bill, SB 1381, which was passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee last week. Its next stop is a full Senate vote on May 30th.

“California is on its way to joining several states and 64 countries by labeling GMOs in our foods,” said Senator Evans in a statement. “Overwhelmingly in California and the nation, consumers simply want to know what is in the foods they eat and feed their families.  This bill responds to those concerns.”

Similar to Prop 37, the voter measure heavily favored to pass that was defeated by a narrow margin in 2012, SB 1381 would require all foods sold within the state to have specific labeling if they contain genetically modified ingredients.

“This bill is a straight-forward, common-sense approach to empowering consumers,” said Evans. “If the product contains GMOs, label it. We shouldn’t be hiding ingredients. Moreover, consumer choice is the cornerstone to our free-market society.”

Prop 37 was met with strong opposition that was well funded by the biotech industry, including funds from Monsanto and Dow, as well as scores of Big Food companies that sell foods with GMO ingredients. The anti-labeling lobby insisted that labeling GMO foods would drive up food prices in the state, even though studies in countries that have adopted similar measures show that to not be the case.

If passed, California would join Vermont, which passed a similar bill into law on May 9th. Connecticut and Maine have also passed GMO labeling bills, but they require other states to pass similar laws before theirs go into effect.

Just last week, two Oregon counties passed bans that prevent growing genetically modified crops inside the county lines.

Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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