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Valley Public Radio Staff
Mon August 13, 2012
GMO Food Labeling Initiative Could Affect Natural Foods Too
California’s Proposition 37 would require foods containing genetically modified ingredients to be labeled. But a part of the initiative regarding what foods can be labeled "natural" has sparked controversy.
The fuss is over the language that supporters say aims to ban genetically engineered foods from being labeled "natural."
But now the state says the clause could be interpreted to apply to ANY processed food. Kathy Fairbanks is with the campaign that opposes the measure. She says the Legislative Analyst Office, the Attorney General and a judge have all weighed in on the language.
"All three agree that wording in this measure could be interpreted to mean that processed foods with no GE would be prohibited from labeling natural." This would mean processed foods such as olive oil, which doesn't contain genetically modified ingredients, could not have the label "natural" on it.
But Stacy Malkan and supporters of the proposition says that's not the initiative's intent.
"Basically this is being made out to be a big confusing issue, but it's a non issue, bec no reasonable judge in a court of law actually ruling on the meaning of prop would interpret meaning to apply to non GMO foods. It just makes no sense."
Still, the language voters will see on the November ballot will say that the measure "prohibits marketing genetically engineered foods and processed foods as natural."