Prop 37 Exemptions Are Common Sense
Proposition 37 requires labeling for the genetically engineered foods that are most prevalent in the American diet – food on supermarket shelves. The goal is to maximize the amount of genetically engineered food that is labeled while keeping compliance easy and keeping Prop 37 within the reach of California law (No initiative measure addressing more than one subject area may be submitted to the voters or have any effect (Cal. Const., art. II, §§ 8(d) & 12). The exemptions in the law are easy to explain and guided by common sense:
Restaurants and bake sales – Restaurants and bake sales are not required to list the ingredients in their products. Requiring labeling for GMOs would have required tracking all the ingredients in restaurant meals, and since no other laws require that, it didn't make sense for this one to.
Meat, cheese, dairy and eggs from animals: These will be labeled if they come from genetically engineered animals. However, they are exempt if the animals ate genetically engineered feed but are not themseleves genetically engineered. This exemption is common all around the world. It didn't make sense for California’s law to be stricter than international standards. Furthermore, tracking what animals eat would have added a complex level of record keeping that we were not prepared to require.
Alcohol – Alcohol labeling is regulated under different laws than food at both the federal and state levels. Because of the single-subject law in California that requires initiatives to apply to only one subject, we couldn't include alcohol. (This is also true for medical food, which is exempted from Prop 37.)
Micro-ingredients, until 2019 – Prop. 37 exempts micro-ingredients from labeling if they are below a level of .5% in the product (for up to 10 ingredients) until 2019. This is to give manufacturers time to source non-GMO micro-ingredients if they choose to do so. After 2019, all food that is intentionally made from GMO crops will have to be labeled.
Organic food and Non-GMO food– Organic food is automatically exempt because by federal definition it is already not allowed to contain GMOs. Food that is intentionally made from conventional, non-GMO crops is also exempt as long as manufacturers or retailers have a sworn statement from their supplier saying that the food was not genetically engineered and was not co-mingled with genetically engineered crops.
What about pet food? Pet food containing genetically engineered crops such as corn or soy would have to be labeled under Prop 37 because the standard definition of food under the Sherman Act, passed by the legislature, includes pet food.
Remember, when you hear people confused about exemptions: There is nothing confusing about the exemptions. The pesticide and junk food companies that are spending One Million Dollars a Day on deceptive TV ads are trying to breed confusion in order to distract from the central issue: We have a right to know what's in our food. When people know the truth about Prop 37, they will vote yes. Please help SHARE THE TRUTH.
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