Groups Attack California Veto on Cloned Food Labeling

US - California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision to veto a bill that would have required the labeling of foods from cloned animals has attracted fierce opposition from consumer groups.
calendar icon 19 November 2007
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The controversial technology looks set to be approved for use in the nation's food production channels, further to a risk assessment conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this year.

One of the aspects of FDA's plan that has invited significant opposition is that the labeling of meat and milk products from cloned animals would not be required.

The California Cloned Food Labeling Act (SB 63) aimed to allow the state's consumers the freedom of informed purchasing if the controversial technology is approved for use in the nation's food production channels.

However, Governor Schwarzenegger said he could not sign the bill as it is pre-empted by federal law, which governs labeling on a national level.

But consumer advocacy groups this week wrote to the Governor, claiming that this reasoning is "legally unsound, disingenuous and inaccurate".

"Federal law applies only to meat, not dairy products. The Governor's veto only referred to the federal meat labeling law, a tacit acknowledgement of this fact," stated the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Consumers Union (CU).

"Dairy products derived from cloned animals will be the first such food products to reach California markets, and will make up the vast majority of the cloned food market. Dairy products are thus the primary target of SB 63," they wrote.

There are two federal laws that address meat labeling, but these do not preempt cloned meat labeling in California, they said. "Neither of these laws even mentions cloned meat, so they simply don't apply," said Rebecca Spector, West Coast director for CFS.

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