VOLUME 6 - 2013-2014 - ISSUE 1
6 Ky. J. Equine, Agric. & Nat. Resources L. 181 (2014).
CALIFORNIA'S PROPOSITION 37: WILL ITS FAILURE FORECAST THE FATE OF THE GM FOOD LABELING MOVEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES ONCE AND FOR ALL?
Note Written By: Meredith K. Schuh
The need for mandatory labeling on food products indicating the presence of genetically modified organisms ("GMOs") is a controversial debate in the field of agricultural biotechnology. Proponents of genetically modified ("GM") labeling argue, "[m]andatory labeling responds to consumers' rights, offers greater choice, and provides more information on food content." In rebuttal, anti-labeling groups contend that providing a label on GM food is unnecessary for several reasons, most importantly, the lack of a "science-based justification for mandatory labeling of GM food because there is no evidence that such foods pose any risks to human health."
Before evaluating state regulation and the effect of Prop 37's failure on the "Right to Know" food movement in the United States, this Note will first provide a brief historical analysis of agricultural biotechnology to explain the impact of mandatory GM labeling on the food industry. Part II will discuss the policies of various federal agencies regarding federal regulation of GM food products. In Part III, this Note will examine case law to determine if the FDA could preempt state legislation mandating GM labeling. Finally, in Part IV, the food labeling movement's future in the U.S. will be explored with proposed suggestions regarding compromise between consumers and the food industry on the labeling issue. The solution to the problem involves educating the public in the field of agricultural biotechnology, which will likely ease consumers' fear of the unknown. The AMA also provides valuable insights, which could pacify those behind the "Right to Know" movement. While there are many potential benefits and drawbacks to labeling, the failure of the United States to develop labeling laws, may signal that there are legitimate reasons for not enacting such laws.