In the final ballot materials made public in late July, both the Attorney General and the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst acknowledged what the No on 37 campaign has been saying from Day 1: Prop. 37 could be interpreted to prohibit all processed foods from being labeled “natural”, even if they have no GE ingredients.

According to the LAO, “… the measure prohibits the use of terms such as ‘natural,’ ‘naturally made,’ ‘naturally grown,’ and ‘all natural’ in the labeling and advertising of GE foods. Given the way the measure is written, there is a possibility that these restrictions would be interpreted by the courts to apply to all processed foods regardless of whether they are genetically engineered.” (emphasis in original). Read the full LAO analysis and Attorney General's Title & Summary.

This far-reaching and nonsensical provision would seriously hurt California family farmers and their competitiveness.

(For more, see: California's Prop. 37 will open litigation floodgates)

“I grow olives which are pressed into olive oil,” said Jamie Johansson, an Oroville farmer who grows olives to make olive oil. Mr. Johansson is also second vice president of the California Farm Bureau Federation. “But under Prop. 37, I couldn’t market my olive oil as natural even though I don’t grow GE olives. In fact, GE olives don’t exist.”

Whether a drafting error or intentional, this provision cannot be changed now that it’s on the ballot, yet its implications are significant.

This serious flaw means that raw, non-GE foods can be labeled “natural” but if they are processed in any way, even if no other ingredient is added, the “natural” label is prohibited.

For example, under Prop 37 a raw almond could be marketed as “natural” but the same almond that has merely been salted, roasted or canned, could not. A raw apple could be labeled “naturally grown,” but once that apple is cooked and churned into apple sauce, even if the sole ingredient is apple, the apple sauce would lose the “natural” designation. Click here to see examples of this nonsensical provision in Prop 37.

“The inability to market our products as natural makes no sense but could seriously harm family farmers and our competitiveness,” continued Johansson.  “Especially since farmers in other states and other countries wouldn’t be bound to these similar regulations.  Sadly, this provision is just one of the many flaws in Proposition 37.”