California-Only Food Labels Pending; Higher Grocery Costs Likely​

Food costs are likely to increase if two California Chamber of Commerce-opposed proposals to mandate California-only labeling for certain foods become law.

SB 1381 (Evans; D-Santa Rosa) is a California-only labeling requirement that will increase food costs for families, raise liability and compliance costs for the food industry and confuse consumers with a label that lacks context and scientific evidence and stigmatize food ingredients that are safe and healthy.

SB 1381 would add up to $400 per year to the grocery bill of the average California family, based on economic studies of a similar initiative from 2012, Proposition 37.

In addition to requiring the labeling of “genetically engineered” foods, SB 1381 includes a private right of action to enforce its provisions.

SB 1381 passed the Senate Health Committee on March 26, 5-2:

Ayes: Beall (D-San Jose), DeSaulnier (D-Concord), Evans (D-Santa Rosa), Monning (D-Carmel), Wolk (D-Davis).

Noes: Anderson (R-Alpine), Hernandez (D-West Covina).

No vote recorded: De León (D-Los Angeles), Nielsen (R-Gerber).

SB 1381 is in the Senate Rules Committee awaiting assignment to another policy committee.

SB 1000 (Monning; D-Carmel) imposes an economic burden on some beverage manufacturers and food outlets by requiring specific state-only labels on some sweetened beverages.

In addition to containing inconsistencies that would be confusing to consumers and expensive for businesses, SB 1000 duplicates a new, national effort on packaging by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

SB 1000 is scheduled for a hearing in Senate Health on April 9.

Staff Contact: Valerie Nera