Comment: CFBF ballot positions include ‘no’ on food-label measure


Issue Date: October 10, 2012

Describing it as a poorly written measure with serious implications for family farmers and ranchers, the California Farm Bureau Federation reaffirmed its opposition to a food labeling initiative on the November ballot as it announced positions on the other measures facing voters this fall.

Proposition 37 would ban foods containing genetically engineered materials unless they carried a special, California-only label. It would also prohibit most processed foods from being labeled as "natural"; the measure's provisions would be enforced for the most part by private attorneys suing alleged violators.

"Proposition 37 wouldn't do anything to make food safer or more affordable. It would just make California farmers and food businesses less competitive," California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger said. "Proposition 37 could force even farmers who don't grow biotech crops to keep extensive records just in case they were sued by a bounty-hunting attorney."

Wenger said the labeling as outlined in Proposition 37 implies a warning and would give people the impression something is wrong with foods made with biotech ingredients.

"Many years of studies have shown that foods made with genetic engineering are safe," he said. "It's irresponsible and confusing to people to require what is essentially a warning label on products that are safe."

Among its other ballot positions, Farm Bureau opposes Proposition 36, which would revise the "three strikes" sentencing law to reduce sentences for repeat offenders convicted of certain non-violent felonies.

"At a time when California farmers and ranchers are plagued by thefts of crops, fuel and anything made of metal, this measure sends the wrong signal to the criminals who prey on our homes and businesses," Wenger said.

The California Farm Bureau Board of Directors considered all 11 measures on the Nov. 6 ballot. The organization's complete list of ballot positions is described in the CFBF Voter Guide.

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