California’s Prop 37: Prop 65 in organic garb

by Walter Olson on August 15, 2012

After the quarter-century disgrace that is Proposition 65 litigation — run by and for lawyers’ interests, with no discernible benefit to the health of the citizenry — you’d think California voters would have learned a thing or two. But unless poll numbers reverse themselves, they’re on the way to approving this fall’s Proposition 37, ostensibly aimed at requiring labeling of genetically modified food, whose main sponsor just happens to be a Prop 65 lawyer. I explain in a new piece at Daily Caller. More coverage: Western Farm Press; Hank Campbell, Science 2.0; Ronald Bailey, Reason (& Red State).

More: defenders of Prop 37 point to this analysis (PDF) by economist James Cooper, arguing that 37 is drafted more narrowly than 65 in ways that would avert some of the potential for abusive litigation. And from Hans Bader: would the measure be open to challenge as unconstitutional, or as federally preempted?

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NYT on California food labeling suits - Overlawyered
08.19.12 at 12:30 am
PointOfLaw Forum
08.23.12 at 9:01 am
Food roundup - Overlawyered
09.11.12 at 12:30 am


1 William Nuesslein 08.15.12 at 4:31 am

How about a generic warning: “May contain GMO”. And stick it on everything. Put on “Earthquakes May Happen Here” too.

2 Hugo S. Cunningham 08.15.12 at 6:55 am

They should also require labels on non-genetic food that it is sprayed with more insccticide, and on “organic food” that it requires taking of more wild land and resources for no scientifically proven benefit to health.

3 John Burgess 08.15.12 at 9:54 am

Doesn’t California already require labels warning against nearly every chemical known to man?

4 Mannie 08.15.12 at 11:02 am

The quest for the substance that does NOT cause cancer in rats, continues.

It makes you wonder why rats haven’t become extinct.

5 DensityDuck 08.15.12 at 12:38 pm

Note that even if no bull sperm were ever in a lab, then we’d have to label beef GMO, because beef cattle are not naturally-occuring animals. They were specifically bred to be what they are.

6 Mark Preston 08.15.12 at 1:13 pm

Why does NO ONE point out that all foods are genetically modified? Tomatoes, such as for sale at markets are hybrids, have been for over half-a-century and nobody has pointed out the “dangers”. Nobody has shown a contagion, allergy, or serious disease from eating genetically modified fruits, vegetables and proteins (meat, fish, fowl), yet all these foods come down through the centuries as GMO.

7 Squirrels 08.15.12 at 3:01 pm

Why does NO ONE point out that all foods are genetically modified?

Because the terms ‘genetically modified’ and GMO specifically refer to foods modified by genetic engineering as opposed to say crossing two kinds of tomatoes by pollination.

8 John David Galt 08.15.12 at 10:38 pm

While I see nothing wrong with GM food per se, consumers ought to be allowed to find out what they’re getting — and correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe the FDA allows most non-GM food to be labeled as such, even if both producers and consumers want to know it.

(I say “most” because some milk products are now labeled as coming from non-hormone-treated cattle. I assume this is because foods under USDA jurisdiction are exempt from FDA rules.)

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