California Governor Schwarzenegger Vetoes Labeling Bill for Food from Clones
On Saturday, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill (SB 63) that would have required food processors to label products that contain ingredients from cloned animals. The bill was passed by the California House and Senate in early September, despite strong opposition from California processors, retailers and farmers.
The move by California's legislature followed the December 2006 release of a draft Risk Assessment on the safety of food from cloned animals by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In response to the draft Risk Assessment, FDA received over 30,000 letters and official comments.
IDFA opposed the bill and last week sent a letter to Governor Schwarzenegger encouraging him to veto it. In the letter, IDFA stressed the importance of allowing FDA to complete its review of the safety of food from cloned animals.
"Senate Bill 63 is premature, and the State of California should wait until the outcome of the FDA review before taking such a drastic step," said Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president, in the letter. "By fostering consumer skepticism about dairy products, regardless of whether companies will ever use milk from cloned cows, Senate Bill 63 could also negatively impact the consumption of milk, a key source of vital nutrients for most Americans, and could further cause serious economic hardship to milk and dairy companies."
In 2007, IDFA has tracked bills in seven states that would require mandatory labeling for or the prohibition of food containing ingredients from cloned animals. California, however, was the only state that was able to pass a labeling bill before the end of its legislative year.
For more information on the pending bills, view the IDFA State Legislation Matrix at www.idfa.org/leg/statelegchart.pdf.
# # #
Posted October 15, 2007