California's Proposition 65, which requires products to carry warnings whenever they contain ingredients shown to cause cancer or birth defects, is the real target of the overly broad Senate bill, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
The supposed aim of S.3128 is to create uniformity between FDA regulations and state laws -- but if it were to pass, it would cancel out local and state regulations concerning restaurant hygiene, milk pasteurization and even warnings about consuming fish with high mercury content and alcohol when pregnant.
"The fallout from this attack on California's Proposition 65 could be the destruction of hundreds of other state and local food safety and labeling laws in every state," said CSPI senior staff attorney Benjamin Cohen. "Parents pouring milk for their kids or dining in a restaurant shouldn't have to worry about getting a food-borne illness. Yet some Senators would place their constituents at greater risk of that just to please the powerful and politically connected food industry."
"This attack is yet another outrageous attempt by giant food corporations to blind consumers from the truth about hazardous grocery products," said Mike Adams, consumer health advocate and author of Grocery Warning. "That food corporations would actively seek to remove cancer warnings about carcinogenic ingredients is merely indicative of the industry's utter disregard for public health," he added.
Not only do public health and environmental groups oppose S.3128, but many governors, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif., also stand in opposition. Watchdog group representatives say Proposition 65 has been an indispensable tool for encouraging manufacturers to eliminate harmful chemicals rather than putting warnings on their consumer goods; while the law only applies to products in California, companies tend to reformulate their products on a national scale.