Proposition 37 targets genetically engineered foods—comprising up to 70% of the U.S. food supply—by requiring labels that the proposition’s supporters hope will discourage consumers from buying such foods. These foods would have to display the words “Genetically Engineered” or “May Be Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering” on their packaging. In addition, such foods could not be advertised as “natural” or labeled with words of similar import.
Proposition 37 would create a field day for bounty hunters. Any person could sue to enforce the law. There would be no requirement for advance notice of intent to sue, no requirement that the plaintiff actually have suffered any specific damage, and no requirement that the plaintiff have relied upon the product label in deciding to purchase the food. The initiative would also allow plaintiffs to recover attorneys’ fees and costs of investigation if they sue successfully.
We have been monitoring the progress of Proposition 37 since it was first submitted as a ballot title in late 2011. California voters will consider the initiative on the November 6, 2012 ballot. From now until November 6, 2012 we will be updating this blog regularly with the latest on the fight over Prop 37 and its implications. If you are interested in learning more, check back regularly and look for our Prop 37 Survival Guide, coming soon.