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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2564        FILED ON: 1/17/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 2037


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Michael J. Moran


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act to establish guidelines for genetically engineered food.






Michael J. Moran

18th Suffolk

HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2564        FILED ON: 1/17/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 2037

By Mr. Moran of Boston, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 2037) of Michael J. Moran for legislation to establish guidelines within the Department of Public Health for genetically engineered food.  Public Health. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen



An Act to establish guidelines for genetically engineered food.


              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

              SECTION 1:  Chapter 111 of the Massachusetts General Laws is hereby amended by adding after section 223 the following new sections:-

              “Section 224: Genetically Engineered Food.


              (a) Massachusetts consumers have the right to know whether the foods they purchase were produced using genetic engineering. Genetic engineering of plants and animals often causes unintended consequences. Manipulating genes and inserting them into organisms is an imprecise process. The results are not always predictable or controllable, and they can lead to adverse health or environmental consequences.

              (b) Government scientists have stated that the artificial insertion of DNA into plants, a technique unique to genetic engineering, can cause a variety of significant problems with plant foods. Such genetic engineering can increase the levels of known toxicants in foods and introduce new toxicants and health concerns.

              (c) Mandatory identification of foods produced through genetic engineering can provide a critical method for tracking the potential health effects of eating genetically engineered foods.

              (d) No federal or Massachusetts law requires that food producers identify whether foods were produced using genetic engineering. At the same time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not require safety studies of such foods. Unless these foods contain a known allergen, the FDA does not even require developers of genetically engineered crops to consult with the agency.

              (e) Polls consistently show that more than 90 percent of the public want to know if their food was produced using genetic engineering.

              (f) Fifty countries—including the European Union member states, Japan and other key U.S. trading partners—have laws mandating disclosure of genetically engineered foods. No international agreements prohibit the mandatory identification of foods produced through genetic engineering.

              (g) Without disclosure, consumers of genetically engineered food can unknowingly violate their own dietary and religious restrictions.

              (h) The cultivation of genetically engineered crops can also cause serious impacts to the environment. Massachusetts consumers should have the choice to avoid purchasing foods production of which can lead to such environmental harm.


              The purpose of this measure is to create and enforce the fundamental right of the people of Massachusetts to be fully informed about whether the food they purchase and eat is genetically engineered and not misbranded as natural so that they can choose for themselves whether to purchase and eat such foods. It shall be liberally construed to fulfill this purpose.

              SECTION 3. DEFINITIONS

              The following definitions shall apply only for the purposes of this article:

              (a) Cultivated commercially. “Cultivated commercially” means grown or raised by a person in the course of his business or trade and sold within the United States.

              (b) Enzyme. “Enzyme” means a protein that catalyzes chemical reactions of other substances without itself being destroyed or altered upon completion of the reactions.

              (c) Genetically engineered. (1) “Genetically engineered” means any food that is produced from an organism or organisms in which the genetic material has been changed through the application of:

              (A) In vitro nucleic acid techniques, including recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) techniques and the direct injection of nucleic acid into cells or organelles, or

              (B) Fusion of cells, including protoplast fusion, or hybridization techniques that overcome natural physiological, reproductive, or recombination barriers, where the donor cells/protoplasts do not fall within the same taxonomic family, in a way that does not occur by natural multiplication or natural recombination.

              (2) For purposes of this subdivision:

              (A) “Organism” means any biological entity capable of replication, reproduction, or transferring genetic material.

              (B) “In vitro nucleic acid techniques” include, but are not limited to, recombinant DNA or RNA techniques that use vector systems and techniques involving the direct introduction into the organisms of hereditary materials prepared outside the organisms such as micro-injection, macro-injection, chemoporation, electroporation, micro-encapsulation, and liposome fusion.

              (d) Processed food. “Processed food” means any food other than a raw agricultural commodity, and includes any food produced from a raw agricultural commodity that has been subject to processing such as canning, smoking, pressing, cooking, freezing, dehydration, fermentation, or milling.

              (e) Processing aid. “Processing aid” means:

              (1) A substance that is added to a food during the processing of such food, but is removed in some manner from the food before it is packaged in its finished form;

              (2) A substance that is added to a food during processing, is converted into constituents normally present in the food, and does not significantly increase the amount of the constituents naturally found in the food; or

              (3) A substance that is added to a food for its technical or functional effect in the processing, but is present in the finished food at insignificant levels and does not have any technical or functional effect in that finished food.

              (f) Cooking Facility. “Cooking facility” shall have the meaning set forth in Section 22A of Chapter 140 of the Massachusetts General Laws.


              (a) Commencing July 1, 2014, any food offered for retail sale in Massachusetts is misbranded if it is or may have been entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering and that fact is not disclosed:

              (1) In the case of a raw agricultural commodity on the package offered for retail sale, with the clear and conspicuous words “Genetically Engineered” on the front of the package of such commodity or, in the case of any such commodity that is not separately packaged or labeled, on a label appearing on the retail store shelf or bin in which such commodity is displayed for sale;

              (2) In the case of any processed food, in clear and conspicuous language on the front or back of the package of such food, with the words “Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering” or “May be Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering.”

              (b) Subsection (a) of this section and subsection (e) of Section 6 shall not be construed to require either the listing or identification of any ingredient or ingredients that were genetically engineered or that the term “genetically engineered” be placed immediately preceding any common name or primary product descriptor of a food.


              In addition to any disclosure required by Section 4, if a food meets any of the definitions in subdivision (c) or (d) of Section 3, and is not otherwise exempted from labeling under Section 6, the food may not in Massachusetts, on its label, accompanying signage in a retail establishment, or in any advertising or promotional materials, state or imply that the food is “natural,” “naturally made,” “naturally grown,” “all natural,” or any words of similar import that would have any tendency to mislead any consumer.


              The requirements of Section 5 shall not apply to any of the following:

              (a) Food consisting entirely of, or derived entirely from, an animal that has not itself been genetically engineered, regardless of whether such animal has been fed or injected with any genetically engineered food or any drug that has been produced through means of genetic engineering.

              (b) A raw agricultural commodity or food derived therefrom that has been grown, raised, or produced without the knowing and intentional use of genetically engineered seed or food. Food will be deemed to be described in the preceding sentence only if the person otherwise responsible for complying with the requirements of subdivision (a) of Section 5 with respect to a raw agricultural commodity or food obtains, from whoever sold the commodity or food to that person, a sworn statement that such commodity or food: (1) has not been knowingly or intentionally genetically engineered; and (2) has been segregated from, and has not been knowingly or intentionally commingled with, food that may have been genetically engineered at any time. In providing such a sworn statement, any person may rely on a sworn statement from his or her own supplier that contains the affirmation set forth in the preceding sentence.

              (c) Any processed food that would be subject to Section 5 solely because it includes one or more genetically engineered processing aids or enzymes.

              (d) Any alcoholic beverage.

              (e) Until July 1, 2019, any processed food that would be subject to Section 5 solely because it includes one or more genetically engineered ingredients, provided that: (1) no single such ingredient accounts for more than one-half of one percent of the total weight of such processed food; and (2) the processed food does not contain more than 10 such ingredients.

              (f) Food that an independent organization has determined has not been knowingly and intentionally produced from or commingled with genetically engineered seed or genetically engineered food, provided that such determination has been made pursuant to a sampling and testing procedure approved in regulations adopted by the department. No sampling procedure shall be approved by the department unless sampling is done according to a statistically valid sampling plan consistent with principles recommended by internationally recognized; and

              (2) it does not rely on testing of processed foods in which no DNA is detectable.

              (g) Food that has been lawfully certified to be labeled, marketed, and offered for sale as “organic” pursuant to the federal Organic Food Products Act of 1990 and the regulations promulgated pursuant thereto by the United States Department of Agriculture.

              (h) Food that is not packaged for retail sale and that either: (1) is a processed food prepared and intended for immediate human consumption or (2) is served, sold, or otherwise provided in any restaurant or other food facility that is primarily engaged in the sale of food prepared and intended for immediate human consumption.

              (i) Medical food.


              The department may adopt any regulations that it determines are necessary for the enforcement and interpretation of this act, provided that the department shall not be authorized to create any exemptions beyond those specified.


              This act shall be construed to supplement, not to supersede, the requirements of any federal or Massachusetts General Laws or regulation that provides for less stringent or less complete labeling of any raw agricultural commodity or processed food subject to the provisions of this initiative.


              This act shall become effective upon enactment.”

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