The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is the lead agency for implementation of Proposition 65 (The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, Health and Safety Code sections 25249.5, et. seq., hereafter referred to as the Act). The Act requires that businesses provide "clear and reasonable" warnings for exposures to listed chemicals prior to exposure. This requirement applies to exposures to listed chemicals in foods.
OEHHA has been considering amendment of the existing warning regulations in Title 27, California Code of Regulations, section 25601. The amendment would add specific options for both the method and content of warnings for exposures to listed chemicals in foods. OEHHA is also considering regulations that determine the relative responsibility of retailers and manufacturers for these warnings.
Many interested parties had requested that OEHHA provide more direction on these matters. Current regulations provide limited guidance on options for providing Proposition 65 warnings for exposures to listed chemicals in foods in the retail context. Further guidance may also be needed on the content of any required warnings (i.e., what additional information must be provided and what format would be considered "clear and reasonable" under the Act).
On March 14, 2008, OEHHA held a public workshop at the California Environmental Protection Agency in Sacramento. Subsequently, a workgroup was formed, composed of 15 representatives from various stakeholder groups including food manufacturers, food retailers, consumer groups, agriculture, environmental, enforcement and other state agencies. After receiving input in four workgroup meetings, OEHHA developed a draft framework for an amended regulation. A second public workshop was held on December 3, 2008, where the draft framework was presented to the public. OEHHA solicited comments, and these have since been posted on the OEHHA website.
On February 18, 2009, OEHHA will hold an informal conference call at 10:00 a.m. to discuss these comments and the next steps in the amendment process. Interested parties may participate in this conference call through the toll-free number: (877) 322-9648, Participant Code: 341735.