Derek Moore, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Proposed legislation by state Sen. Noreen Evans requiring all foods containing genetically modified organisms to be labeled in California cleared its first hurdle Wednesday in Sacramento.
The Senate Committee on Health approved the bill on a 5-2 vote after Evans, D-Santa Rosa, agreed to several amendments, including that the legislation exclude alcohol products and not take effect until Jan. 1. 2016.
Supporters of GMO labeling argue that it is necessary to protect public health and the consumer’s right to make informed choices. Critics, however, say such labels would confuse shoppers and lead to higher production costs.
“I want to be very clear: This bill doesn’t ban anything,” Evans testified Wednesday. “It simply requires labeling. It’s agnostic on whether GMOs are good, or whether they are bad.”
Proponents of labeling, including the California State Grange, turned to lawmakers after California voters in 2012 narrowly turned down a ballot measure that would have essentially accomplished the same thing.