SAN FRANCISCO — The Center for Food Safety and Consumers Union here have expressed disappointment at California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto of the California Cloned Food Labeling Act (Senate Bill 63), and have pledged to work with legislators to introduce a similar bill by California's next legislative session.
In vetoing the bill, Gov. Schwarzenegger said that it would be preempted by federal labeling laws, but in published reports, opponents described his arguments as “legally unsound, disingenuous and inaccurate.”
“Under SB 63, the labeling of dairy products derived from cloned animals is clearly not preempted,” said the Center for Food Safety and Consumers Union in a letter to Gov. Schwarzenegger's office.
“Such labeling in California is controlled by state law, and there is no federal preemption of dairy labeling laws. Your veto statement, which refers only to the federal meat labeling law, tacitly acknowledges this fact. 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.”
There are two federal laws that address meat labeling: the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Federal Meat Inspection Act. The two groups say neither law preempts cloned meat labeling in California, because cloning is not currently listed in the FFDCA's list of labeling standards.
In the letter, signed by Rebecca Spector, West Coast director of the Center for Food Safety, and Elisa Odabashian, director of Consumers Union's West Coast office, the groups said they plan to introduce a similar cloned food labeling bill for the next legislative session.
The Food and Drug Administration issued draft guidance last December allowing meat and milk from cloned cows into the food chain.
According to its assessment of the available scientific evidence, the agency said that there are no additional safety risks posed by cloning technology.