Posted: Oct. 31, 2012, 1:50 p.m. EDT
UPDATE: California voters rejected Proposition 37 on Nov. 6.
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council this week asked pet owners to oppose California's Proposition 37, a ballot initiative that would require the labeling of many genetically engineered foods, including some in the pet sector.
Prop. 37, which California voters will decide Nov. 6, would prohibit the marketing of genetically engineered foods as “natural” and would mandate the labeling of food made from plants or animals whose genetic material
California Right to Know, a sponsor of the proposition, stated that the initiative gives consumers "the right to know what is in the food we eat and feed to our families."
Retailers would be primarily responsible for ensuring that their food products are correctly labeled under Prop. 37, according to California's Legislative Analyst.
Washington, D.C.-based PIJAC cautioned that the proposition was broadly written and that retailers would have to "document why that product is exempt from labeling.”
"Processed foods, such as foods that have been canned, smoked, pressed, cooked, frozen, dehydrated, fermented or milled, could no longer be labeled as natural," PIJAC reported.
"This ballot initiative would have serious ramifications for those who produce and sell pet food," PIJAC added. "Not only does the proposal mandate far-reaching labeling requirements, it allows lawsuits by private parties to enforce the provisions, authorizing courts to award all costs incurred in investigating and prosecuting the action."
Other opponents pointed out that the initiative treats similar products differently.
"It requires special labels on soy milk, but exempts cow’s milk and dairy products," according to an official statement on a state website. "Fruit juice requires a label, but alcohol is exempt. Pet foods containing meat require labels, but meats for human consumption are exempt."
The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that Prop. 37 has lost support among likely voters. A poll by the California Business Roundtable and the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy showed 39 percent in favor of the measure and 51 percent opposed, with 10 percent undecided.
Industry Professional Site: Comments from non-industry professionals will be removed.