Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SB1666
Illinois General Assembly

Previous General Assemblies

Full Text of SB1666  98th General Assembly




State of Illinois
2013 and 2014


Introduced 2/13/2013, by Sen. David Koehler


New Act

    Creates the Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Act. Sets forth the General Assembly's findings and the purpose of the Act. Provides that beginning on the effective date of the Act, any food offered for retail sale in this State is misbranded if it is entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering and that fact is not disclosed in a certain manner. Provides that the Act shall not be construed to require either the listing or identification of any ingredient or ingredients that were genetically engineered, nor that the term "genetically engineered" be placed immediately preceding any common name or primary product descriptor of a food. Provides that until the effective date of the Act, any processed food that would be subject to the provision concerning the labeling of genetically engineered foods solely because it includes one or more materials produced by genetic engineering is not misbranded provided that the engineered materials in the aggregate do not account for more than a certain amount of the total weight of the processed food. Sets forth provisions concerning applicability and the right of action for violations, damages, and attorneys' fees. Provides that the Department of Public Health shall adopt rules necessary to implement the Act. Contains a severability provision.

LRB098 07651 RPM 37723 b






SB1666LRB098 07651 RPM 37723 b

1    AN ACT concerning health.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
5Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Act.
6    Section 5. Legislative findings. The General Assembly
7finds as follows:
8    (1) Illinois consumers have the right to know whether the
9foods they purchase were produced with genetic engineering so
10they can make informed purchasing decisions. Labeling is
11necessary to ensure that consumers are fully and reliably
12informed about the products they purchase and consume.
13    (2) Consumers overwhelmingly favor knowing whether the
14food they purchase and consume is produced with genetic
15engineering for a variety of reasons, including health,
16economic, environmental, religious, and ethical reasons. Polls
17consistently show that the vast majority of the public, more
18than 90%, wants to know if its food was produced with genetic
20    (3) There is currently no federal or State requirement that
21genetically engineered (GE) foods be labeled. In contrast, 61
22countries, including Japan, South Korea, China, Australia,
23Russia, Malaysia, the European Union member states, and other



SB1666- 2 -LRB098 07651 RPM 37723 b

1key U.S. trading partners, already have laws mandating the
2disclosure of GE foods on food labels. In 2011, Codex
3Alimentarius, the food standards organization of the United
4Nations, stated that governments are free to decide on whether
5and how to label foods produced with genetic engineering.
6    (4) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not
7require or conduct safety studies of GE foods. Instead, any
8safety consultations are voluntary, and GE food developers may
9decide what information to provide to the agency.
10    (5) The genetic engineering of plants and animals often
11causes unintended consequences. Manipulating genes via genetic
12engineering and inserting them into organisms is an imprecise
13process. The results are not always predictable or
14controllable. Mixing plant, animal, bacterial, and viral genes
15through genetic engineering in combinations that cannot occur
16in nature may produce results that lead to adverse health or
17environmental consequences.
18    (6) United States government scientists have stated that
19the artificial insertion of genetic material into plants via
20genetic engineering can cause a variety of significant problems
21with plant foods. Such genetic engineering can increase the
22levels of known toxicants or allergens in foods and create new
23toxicants or allergens with consequent health concerns.
24    (7) Mandatory identification of foods produced with
25genetic engineering can provide a method for detecting, at a
26large epidemiological scale, the potential health effects of



SB1666- 3 -LRB098 07651 RPM 37723 b

1consuming such foods.
2    (8) Without mandatory disclosure, consumers of GE foods may
3unknowingly violate their dietary and religious beliefs.
4    (9) Numerous foreign markets with restrictions on foods
5produced through genetic engineering have restricted imports
6of U.S. crops due to concerns about genetic engineering. Some
7foreign markets are choosing to purchase agricultural products
8from countries other than the U.S. because GE crops are not
9identified in the U.S., which makes it impossible for buyers to
10determine what does or does not meet their national labeling
11laws or restrictions and thus renders U.S. products less
13    (10) Mandatory identification of foods produced with
14genetic engineering can be a critical method of preserving the
15economic value of exports or domestically sensitive markets
16with restrictions on or prohibitions against genetic
18    (11) Organic food sales are increasing. While total U.S.
19food sales are virtually unchanged, growing less than one
20percent yearly, the organic food industry grew at a rate of
219.5% in 2011, and, for the first time, surpassed the $30
22billion mark. Sales of organic fruits and vegetables are up
2311.8%, accounting for approximately 12% of all U.S. fruit and
24vegetable sales. Organic dairy is growing at 9% per year and
25comprises nearly 6% of the total U.S. dairy market. Trade
26industry data shows that over the long term organic farming is



SB1666- 4 -LRB098 07651 RPM 37723 b

1more profitable and economically secure than conventional
2farming. Organic farmers are prohibited from using GE seeds.
3Nonetheless, organic crops are routinely threatened with
4contamination from neighboring fields of GE crops. The risk of
5contamination can erode public confidence in organic products,
6significantly undermining the job-creating, economy-boosting
7growth of the organic market.
8    (12) Foods identified as non-GE constitute the fastest
9growing market segment in agriculture, with annual sales
10increases in 2011 between 20% and 27%. However, only a small
11portion of the food industry participates in voluntary labeling
12of foods claimed not to be the product of genetic engineering.
13There are no consistent standards for such labeling or for
14enforcement of voluntary labels. Because of this, voluntary
15labels are insufficient to provide consumers with adequate
16information on whether or not the food they are purchasing was
17produced with genetic engineering, and in some cases these
18labels may be misleading.
19    (13) The cultivation of GE crops can have serious effects
20on the environment. For example, in 2012, 93% of all soy grown
21in the U.S. was engineered to be herbicide resistant. In fact,
22the vast majority of GE crops are designed to withstand
23herbicides, and they therefore promote indiscriminate
24herbicide use. As a result, GE crops have caused 527 million
25pounds of additional herbicides to be applied to the nation's
26farmland. These toxic herbicides damage the vitality and



SB1666- 5 -LRB098 07651 RPM 37723 b

1quality of our soil, contaminate our drinking water, and pose
2health risks to consumers and farmworkers. Further, because of
3the consequent massive increase in use of herbicides,
4herbicide-resistant weeds have developed and flourished,
5infesting farm fields and roadsides, complicating weed control
6for farmers, and causing farmers to resort to more and
7increasingly toxic herbicides.
8    (14) The people of Illinois should have the choice to avoid
9purchasing foods produced in ways that can lead to such
10environmental harm.
11    Section 10. Purpose.    This Act shall establish a
12consistent and enforceable standard for labeling all foods
13produced using genetic engineering, and thus provide citizens
14of this State with knowledge of how their food is produced.
15    The purpose of this Act is to facilitate the exercise of
16the fundamental right of the people of Illinois to be fully
17informed about whether the food they purchase and eat is
18produced with genetic engineering so that they can choose for
19themselves whether to purchase and eat such foods. Identifying
20foods produced through genetic engineering will help protect
21our State's agricultural economy and environment. This Act
22shall be liberally construed to fulfill these purposes.
23    Section 15. In this Act:
24    "Agriculture" means the science, art, or practice of



SB1666- 6 -LRB098 07651 RPM 37723 b

1cultivating soil, producing crops, and raising livestock or
2fish and, in varying degrees, the preparation and marketing of
3the resulting products.
4    "Cultivated commercially" means agricultural commodities
5grown or raised in the course of business or trade and sold
6within the United States.
7    "Department" means the Department of Public Health.
8    "Enzyme" means a protein that catalyzes chemical reactions
9of other substances without itself being destroyed or altered
10upon completion of the reactions.
11    "Food" means any articles used to feed or nourish man or
12other animals, chewing gum, and articles used for components,
13including food additives, of any such article.
14    "Genetically engineered" means a process that results in a
15substance that is produced from an organism or organisms in
16which the genetic material has been changed through the
17application of the following:
18        (1) in vitro nucleic acid techniques, which include,
19    but are not limited to, recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid
20    (DNA), direct injection of nucleic acid into cells or
21    organelles, encapsulation, gene deletion, and doubling; or
22        (2) methods of fusing cells beyond the taxonomic family
23    that overcome natural physiological reproductive or
24    recombinant barriers, and that are not techniques used in
25    traditional breeding and selection, such as conjugation,
26    transduction, and hybridization.



SB1666- 7 -LRB098 07651 RPM 37723 b

1    "Label" means a display of written, printed, or graphic
2matter upon or connected to the immediate container or surface
3of any article. In order to meet the definition of "label", any
4word, statement, or other information appearing on the label
5shall appear on the outside container or wrapper, if any, of
6the bulk, wholesale, or retail package of the article or be
7easily legible through the outside container or wrapper.
8    "Labeling" means any written, printed, or graphic matter
9that is present on the label, accompanies the food, or is
10displayed near the food, including that for the purpose of
11promoting its sale or disposal.
12    "Manufacturer" means the person or business that makes,
13processes, combines, or packages food ingredients into a
14finished food product.
15    "Medical food" means a food that is formulated to be
16consumed or administered enterally under the supervision of a
17physician and which is intended for the specific dietary
18management of a disease or condition for which distinctive
19nutritional requirements, based on recognized scientific
20principles, are established by medical evaluation.
21    "Organism" means any biological entity capable of
22replication, reproduction, or transferring genetic material.
23    "Processed food" means any food other than a raw
24agricultural commodity, including any food produced from a raw
25agricultural commodity that has been subject to processing such
26as canning, smoking, pressing, cooking, freezing, dehydration,



SB1666- 8 -LRB098 07651 RPM 37723 b

1fermentation, or milling.
2    "Processing aid" means the following:
3        (a) a substance that is added to a food during the
4    processing of the food but is removed in some manner from
5    the food before it is packaged in its final form;
6        (b) a substance that is added to a food during
7    processing, is converted into constituents normally
8    present in the food, and does not significantly increase
9    the amount of the constituents found in the food; or
10        (c) a substance that is added to a food for its
11    technical or functional effects in the processing but is
12    present in the finished food at insignificant levels and
13    does not have any technical or functional effect in that
14    finished food.
15    "Raw agricultural commodity" means any plant, animal, or
16fungi grown or produced for human food use purposes.
17    Section 20. Labeling of genetically engineered foods.
18    (a) Beginning on the effective date of this Act, any food
19offered for retail sale in this State is misbranded if it is
20entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering and
21that fact is not disclosed as follows:
22        (1) In the case of a raw agricultural commodity, on the
23    package offered for retail sale, with the words
24    "Genetically Engineered" appearing clearly and
25    conspicuously on the label on the front of the package of



SB1666- 9 -LRB098 07651 RPM 37723 b

1    the commodity or, in the case of any such commodity that is
2    not separately packaged or labeled, on a clear and
3    conspicuous label appearing on the retail store shelf or
4    bin in which the commodity is displayed for sale.
5        (2) In the case of processed food containing some
6    products of genetic engineering, the manufacturer must
7    label the product, in clear and conspicuous language on the
8    front or back of the package of such food, with the words
9    "Produced with Genetic Engineering" or "Partially Produced
10    with Genetic Engineering".
11    (b) This Act shall not be construed to require either the
12listing or identification of any ingredient or ingredients that
13were genetically engineered, nor that the term "genetically
14engineered" be placed immediately preceding any common name or
15primary product descriptor of a food.
16    (c) Until the effective date of this Act, any processed
17food that would be subject to this Section solely because it
18includes one or more materials produced by genetic engineering
19is not misbranded provided that the engineered materials in the
20aggregate do not account for more than nine-tenths of one
21percent of the total weight of the processed food.
22    (d) Subsection (a) of this Section does not apply to any of
23the following:
24        (1) food consisting entirely of, or derived entirely
25    from, an animal that has not itself been genetically
26    engineered, regardless of whether the animal has been fed



SB1666- 10 -LRB098 07651 RPM 37723 b

1    or injected with any food produced with genetic engineering
2    or any drug or vaccine that has been produced through means
3    of genetic engineering;
4        (2) a raw agricultural commodity or food that has been
5    grown, raised, produced, or derived without the knowing and
6    intentional use of genetically engineered seed or food; to
7    be included within the exclusion under this subsection (d),
8    the person responsible for complying with this Section with
9    respect to a raw agricultural commodity or food must
10    obtain, from whoever sold the raw agricultural commodity or
11    food to that person, a sworn statement that the raw
12    agricultural commodity or food (A) has not been knowingly
13    or intentionally genetically engineered and (B) has been
14    segregated from, and has not been knowingly or
15    intentionally commingled with, foods that may have been
16    genetically engineered at any time; in providing the a
17    sworn statement, a person may rely on a sworn statement
18    from his or her own supplier that contains such an
19    affirmation;
20        (3) any processed food that would be subject to this
21    Section solely because one or more processing aids or
22    enzymes were produced or derived with genetic engineering;
23        (4) any alcoholic beverage that is subject to
24    regulation under the Liquor Control Act of 1934;
25        (5) food that has been lawfully certified to be
26    labeled, marketed, and offered for sale as organic pursuant



SB1666- 11 -LRB098 07651 RPM 37723 b

1    to the federal Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, 7
2    U.S.C. 6501, et seq., and the National Organic Program
3    regulations promulgated pursuant thereto by the United
4    States Department of Agriculture;
5        (6) food that is not packaged for retail sale and that
6    either (A) is a processed food prepared and intended for
7    immediate human consumption or (B) is served, sold, or
8    otherwise provided in any restaurant or other food service
9    establishment that is primarily engaged in the sale of food
10    prepared and intended for immediate human consumption; or
11        (7) medical food.
12    Section 25. Right of action for violations, damages, and
13attorneys' fees.
14    (a) The Department, acting through the Attorney General,
15may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to
16enjoin any person violating this Act.
17    (b) The Department may assess a civil penalty against any
18person violating this Act.
19    (c) Any citizen of this State acting in the public interest
20may bring an action to enjoin a violation of this Act in any
21court of competent jurisdiction if the action is commenced more
22than 60 days after the person has given notice of the alleged
23violation to the Department, to the Attorney General, and to
24the alleged violator.
25    (d) The court may award to a prevailing plaintiff



SB1666- 12 -LRB098 07651 RPM 37723 b

1reasonable costs and attorneys' fees incurred in investigating
2and prosecuting an action to enforce this Act.
3    Section 30. Enforcement and regulation. The Department
4shall adopt rules necessary to implement this Act.
5    Section 97. Severability. The provisions of this Act are
6severable under Section 1.31 of the Statute on Statutes.