A group of Arizona lawmakers—two of them from the Tucson area—has introduced a bill that would force companies to label foods that have been entirely or partially genetically engineered.
From HB 2462
authored by State Reps. Victoria Steele, Juan Mendez, Ken Clark, Richard Andrade, Diego Espinoza and Rosanna Gabaldón:
If a food is required to be labeled pursuant to subsection A of this section, it shall be labeled as follows:
1. In the case of a packaged raw agricultural commodity, the manufacturer shall label the package offered for retail sale with the clear and conspicuous words, "Produced with genetic engineering."
2. In the case of any raw agricultural commodity that is not separately packaged, the retailer shall post a label appearing on the retail store shelf or bin in which the commodity is displayed for sale with the clear and conspicuous words, "Produced with genetic engineering."
3. In the case of any processed food that contains a product of genetic engineering, the manufacturer shall label the package in which the processed food is offered for sale with one of the following phrases:
(a) "PARTIALLY PRODUCED WITH GENETIC ENGINEERING".
(b) "MAY BE PRODUCED WITH GENETIC ENGINEERING".
(c) "PRODUCED WITH GENETIC ENGINEERING".
Also, manufacturers wouldn't be able to falsely advertise food products as "natural" or "naturally made," if any ingredient was genetically engineered.
If these foods are not labeled, the retailer wouldn't be punished. However, the manufacturer would be liable for a civil penalty of "no more than $1000 per day per product." They could also be prosecuted by the state's attorney general or dealt with "in a private manner."
State groups, such as GMO Free Arizona
, have been pushing for a measure like this one. A similar bill, SB 1180, was brought forward in 2013 by state Sen. Ed Ableser. That bill didn't make it out of the committee it was assigned to.
We'll see if this one gets a hearing and moves through the pipes.