Latest NewsChamber Opposes Rising Food Costs for Consumers, Business
Proposition 37 would create rising costs for food producers that would be passed on to consumers.
In the first of many issues on the November ballot that will impact business, the Chamber recently opposed Proposition 37, which will essentially ban the sale of tens of thousands of common grocery products containing genetically engineered (GE) ingredients unless they are specially repackaged and relabeled just for California.
The majority of packaged food and beverage products contain some genetically modified ingredients. The proposition would make it illegal to sell those products in California unless they are labeled as "genetically engineered." No such law exists in any other state and while some countries do have GE labeling requirements, Proposition 37 would be the most extreme version of these requirements with little additional safety or health benefit.
With the proposition's labeling mandates, food producers and grocers would be forced to maintain additional recordkeeping and labeling practices for every product they sell showing whether it contains any GE ingredient. It would force California farmers and food companies to put additional labels on their products — labels that are not required outside of California. The higher costs that farmers, food companies and grocers would face because of this proposition would be passed on to California consumers through higher food prices.
Furthermore, the proposition's labeling requirements would apply to thousands of common food products sold at farm stands, grocery stores and other retail outlets. However, the requirements would not apply to those same foods when they are sold "for immediate consumption," as in a restaurant.
Proposition 37 would also create encourage predatory lawsuits, allowing anyone to sue claiming a food company, grocer or farmer for violating the labeling provisions – even without proof of a violation. It subjects family farmers, grocers and food companies to enormous litigation costs and trial lawyer payouts. As the voice of the business community, the Chamber strongly urges voters to oppose Proposition 37 protect local consumers and businesses from potentially drastic rises in food costs.