Pet Food Ingredients / Pet Food Regulations / Pet Food Labeling
on November 7, 2012

No GMO labeling required for petfoods (yet)

While Prop #37 failed to pass in California this time around, the concept of such label disclosure is not likely to go away

["Regardless of what the science supports, in the end it is the consumer’s prerogative to make purchasing decisions.", "It is good that Prop #37 did not pass, as it was poorly written (perhaps to be intentionally vague).", "That would have virtually wiped out the entire natural petfood segment of the market."]

For readers outside of California who do not follow state election issues, there was an initiative on the November 6 ballot that, if passed, would have had profound effects on petfood labeling nationwide. The “California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act,” better known as Prop #37, enjoyed an early lead in the polls with over 70% of the state population supporting the measure. However, a reported $45.6 million negative campaign apparently swayed voters otherwise, so in the end it lost with approximately 47% in favor and 53% opposed (at last count).

Basically, the new law would have required labels of most food products containing genetically engineered ingredients (GE, also known as genetically modified organisms, or GMO) to bear a small but conspicuous statement on the back panel reading, “Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering” or “May be Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering” (see

While there were hints in the preamble and text of the proposed law that it was intended primarily for human foods, as written that intent was not made clear. By referring only to “food” without further qualification, the law would have not only required petfoods to comply but also horse, poultry and other livestock feeds…

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