June 11, 2012
Contact: Shannan Velayas
SACRAMENTO - California Secretary of State Debra Bowen today certified an eighth measure for the November 6, 2012, General Election ballot. The measure, which requires the labeling of genetically engineered foods, joins seven other measures already on the November ballot:
In order to qualify for the ballot, the food labeling initiative needed 504,760 valid petition signatures, which is equal to five percent of the total votes cast for governor in the November 2010 gubernatorial election. A measure can qualify via random sampling of petition signatures if the sampling projects a number of valid signatures greater than 110 percent of the required number. The food labeling initiative needed at least 555,236 projected valid signatures to qualify by random sampling, and it exceeded that threshold today.
County elections officials have 30 working days to verify the validity of the signatures filed with their offices using a random sampling method. The state Elections Code requires county elections officials to verify 500 signatures or three percent of the number of signatures filed in the county, whichever is greater. Counties receiving fewer than 500 petition signatures are required to verify all the signatures filed in their elections offices.
The Attorney General's official title and summary of the initiative is as follows:
GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS. MANDATORY LABELING. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Requires labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. Prohibits labeling or advertising such food as “natural.” Exempts foods that are: certified organic; unintentionally produced with genetically engineered material; made from animals fed or injected with genetically engineered material but not genetically engineered themselves; processed with or containing only small amounts of genetically engineered ingredients; administered for treatment of medical conditions; sold for immediate consumption such as in a restaurant; or alcoholic beverages. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Potential increase in state administrative costs of up to one million dollars annually to monitor compliance with the disclosure requirements specified in the measure. Unknown, but potentially significant, costs for the courts, the Attorney General, and district attorneys due to litigation resulting from possible violations to the provisions of this measure. (11-0099.)
The proponent of this initiative, James Wheaton, can be reached at (510) 444-4710, extension 309.
For more information about how an initiative qualifies for the ballot in California, go to www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/how-to-qualify-an-initiative.htm.
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