Proposition 37 Fallout

Proposition 37 Fallout

Proposition 37 Fallout. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

A precedent setting biotech labeling initiative on the ballot in California is not consumer driven - but instead being led by trial lawyers looking for a get rich quick scheme. That’s according to No on Proposition 37 Spokeswoman Kathy Fairbanks. She says while some consumer groups support the measure - it was actually written and introduced by a famous California trial lawyer. She says this is not just a simple labeling measure and would end up costing consumers around 400-dollars per person annually.

FAIRBANKS: The folks in support of Prop 37 would like people to believe that this is just about putting a little label on packaged goods or any food products but that’s simply not the case. As I mentioned this measure has the ability to allow lawyers, it was written to allow lawyers to be able to easily file lawsuits alleging that a grocery, retailer or food company or farmer is violating the law when they’re not violating the law. In the end consumers will pay higher grocery bills at the checkout line because of the additional regulations, because of the litigation component.

Fairbanks says the labeling law will have no health or safety benefits. If Prop 37 passes - she says it would set a dangerous precedent hurting food and seed companies and result in a patchwork of state biotech labeling laws.

FAIRBANKS: If in the proponents best case scenario all 50 states were to adopt labeling requirements none would be the same and consumers nationwide would be left with each state doing something a little differently and not only is that not helpful for consumers to not know what the requirements are state-by-state it sets a confusing labeling mandates but for farmers, for businesses seeking to operate within this kind of system it just doesn't make any sense.

She says the biotech labeling rule only covers packaged foods. It would not apply to about two-thirds of food products including dairy products, meat, alcohol and restaurant food. Fairbanks says this proves the measure is politically motivated. Polling shows voter support for the measure is dying.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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