One of the most closely watched statewide initiatives on the election ballot this Nov. 6 is a proposed statute in California called Proposition 37, which would require all food manufacturers, distributors and retailers to add labeling identifying ingredients derived from genetically modified sources. The initiative will impact any company that produces or sells food in the country’s largest food marketplace.
To help companies and food industry professionals stay current with the changes likely to come under Prop 37, law firm Morrison & Foerster has launched a one-stop online Prop 37 Resource Page covering all aspects of the proposed law—which is widely expected to be approved by voters. Find the new page at mofo.com/prop37.
The resource page links to news coverage, state and federal government resources, legal experts on implications for businesses, and more. If Prop 37 passes, the page will regularly be updated with news of case filings, the statute’s effects on consumers and various industries, and other relevant content.
Prop 37 would require explicit labeling on packaged food containing modified genetic material, and would forbid the marketing of such foods as “natural.” It would become the nation’s first law compelling labeling on genetically modified foodstuffs, and could spur a wave of similar legislation in other states.
Michèle Corash, Morrison & Foerster partner in its Environmental Regulation and Environmental Litigation practices and formerly general counsel at the U.S. EPA, notes, “Under Prop 37, anyone can sue a food company disputing its labels, even if plaintiffs didn’t suffer damage from the food, or even if plaintiffs didn't rely on a product label in deciding to purchase the food.”
The rise of statutes facilitating litigation brought by citizens is also behind Morrison & Foerster’s creation of another new resource for businesses, The Private Surgeon General Class Action Defender Blog, at privatesurgeongeneral.com/preemption.