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HOUSE DOCKET, NO.                 FILED ON: 3/18/2014

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 3996

 

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

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In the Year Two Thousand Fourteen

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An Act relative to the labeling of seed.

 

              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. Section 1 of chapter 94 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the definition of “Food” the following new definition:-

              “Genetically engineered material”, any material derived in whole or in part from processes, as identified by the national organic program of the U.S. department of agriculture, used to modify genetically organisms or influence their growth and development by means that are not possible under natural conditions or processes. Such methods include cell fusion, microencapsulation and macroencapsulation, and recombinant DNA technology (including gene deletion, gene doubling, introducing a foreign gene, and changing the positions of genes when achieved by recombinant DNA technology). Such methods do not include the use of traditional breeding, conjugation, fermentation, hybridization, in vitro fertilization, or tissue culture. Material grown from genetically engineered seed and genetically engineered plant parts shall be considered genetically engineered material.

              SECTION 2. Said chapter 94 is hereby amended by adding after section 184E the following new section:-

              Section 184F. The Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act

              On October first following the date the Director of Standards recognizes the occurrence of both of the following: (1) Four states, not including this state, enact a mandatory labeling law for genetically-engineered foods that is consistent with the provisions of this subsection, provided one such state borders Massachusetts; and (2) the aggregate population of such states located in the northeast region of the United States that have enacted a mandatory labeling law for genetically-engineered foods that is consistent with this subsection exceed twenty million based on 2010 census figures, (A) food intended for human consumption, and (B) seed or seed stock that is intended to produce food for human consumption, that is entirely or partially genetically-engineered, except a processed food subject to the provisions of this section solely because one or more processing aids or enzymes were produced or derived from genetic engineering, shall be labeled as follows: (i) In the case of such food that is sold wholesale and is not intended for retail sale, on the bill of sale accompanying such food during shipping, with the clear and conspicuous words: "Produced with Genetic Engineering"; (ii) in the case of such food for retail sale contained in a package, with the clear and conspicuous words: "Produced with Genetic Engineering"; (iii) in the case of such food that is a raw agricultural commodity, on the package offered for retail sale or, in the case of any such commodity that is not separately packaged or labeled, on the bill of sale or invoice for such commodity and on the retail store shelf or bin that holds such commodity displayed for sale with the clear and conspicuous words: "Produced with Genetic Engineering"; and (iv) in the case of any such seed or seed stock, on the container holding the seed or seed stock displayed for sale or on any label identifying ownership or possession of the commodity with the clear and conspicuous words: "Produced with Genetic Engineering". Such food labeling shall be displayed in the same size and font as the ingredients in the nutritional facts panel on the food label. Not later than thirty days after the Director of Standards recognizes the occurrence of the events described in subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection, the commissioner shall cause to be published in the five newspapers in the state having the largest circulation, notice of the date the requirements of this section become effective. For purposes of this section, "states located in the northeast region of the United States" means Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.

              (b) The requirements of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to any of the following:

              (1) Alcoholic beverages;

              (2) Food intended for human consumption that is not packaged for retail sale and that either: (A) Is a processed food prepared and intended for immediate consumption, or (B) 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 consumption;

              (3) Farm products that are sold by a farmer or the farmer's agent to a consumer at a pick-your-own farm, roadside stand, on-farm market or farmers' market; and

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

              (c) Any person selling, offering for sale or distributing in this state any food, seed or seed stock required to be labeled as provided in this section shall be responsible for ensuring that such food, seed or seed stock is so labeled.

              (d) The provisions of this section shall be enforced, within available appropriations, by the Director of Standards.

              (e) Any person found to knowingly violate this section shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars per day, per product. Calculation of such civil penalty shall not be made or multiplied by the number of individual packages of the same product displayed or offered for retail sale. Civil penalties assessed under this section shall accrue and be assessed per each uniquely named, designated or marketed product.

              (f) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (c) of this section, a retailer shall not be penalized or otherwise held liable for the failure to label pursuant to this section unless (1) the retailer is the producer or the manufacturer of the genetically-engineered food, seed or seed stock and sells the genetically-engineered food under a brand it owns, or (2) the retailer's failure to label was knowing and wilful. In any action in which it is alleged that a retailer has violated the provisions of this section, it shall be a defense that such retailer reasonably relied on (A) any disclosure concerning genetically-engineered foods contained in the bill of sale or invoice provided by the wholesaler or distributor pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, or (B) the lack of any such disclosure.

              (g) The Director of Standards may adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of Section 5 of Chapter 24 of the M.G.L., to implement and enforce the provisions of this section.

              SECTION 3. Section 187 of said chapter 94 is hereby amended by inserting after the paragraph beginning with the word “Fourteenth,” and ending with the words “misleading labeling.” the following paragraphs:-

              “Fifteenth, if it is intended for human consumption and genetically-engineered, as defined in section 1 of this act, and does not bear labeling as required in accordance with section 2 of this act, unless (A) it is a food intended for human consumption produced without the producer's knowledge that a seed or other component of such food was genetically-engineered, or (B) on or before July 1, 2019, it is a processed food, as defined in section 1 of this act, that is subject to the provisions of section 2 of this act, solely because it contains one or more materials that have been produced with genetic engineering, as defined in section 1 of this act, provided such genetically-engineered materials do not, in the aggregate, account for more than nine-tenths of one per cent of the total weight of the processed food.”

              “In the case of seed or seed stock intended to produce food for human consumption: First, if it is genetically engineered as defined in Section 1 of this act, and does not bear labeling as required in Section 2 of this act.”

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