STATE OF NEW YORK
2013-2014 Regular Sessions
February 26, 2013
Introduced by M. of A. ABINANTI, COLTON, BOYLAND, STECK -- Multi-Spon-
sored by -- M. of A. ARROYO, COOK, ROBINSON -- read once and referred
to the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection -- recommitted to
the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection in accordance with
Assembly Rule 3, sec. 2 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered
reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee
AN ACT to amend the general business law, in relation to enacting the
New York right to know genetically engineered food act
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may be cited as
2 the "New York right to know genetically engineered food act".
3 § 2. Legislative intent. The legislature intends to create and enforce
4 the fundamental right of the people of New York to be fully informed
5 about whether the food they purchase and eat is genetically engineered
6 and not misbranded as natural so that they can choose for themselves
7 whether to purchase and eat such foods. This act shall be liberally
8 construed to fulfill this purpose.
9 § 3. The general business law is amended by adding a new article 16-A
10 to read as follows:
11 ARTICLE 16-A
12 NEW YORK RIGHT TO KNOW GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD ACT
13 Section 266-a. Definitions.
14 266-b. Labeling of genetic engineering of food.
15 266-c. Misbranding of genetically engineered food as "natural".
16 266-d. Exemptions.
17 266-e. Enforcement.
18 § 266-a. Definitions. (a) The term "cultivated commercially" as used
19 in this article, means grown or raised by a person in the course of his
20 or her business or trade and sold within the United States.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
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1 (b) "Enzyme" shall mean a protein that catalyzes chemical reactions of
2 other substances without itself being destroyed or altered upon
3 completion of the reactions.
4 (c)(i) "Genetically engineered" shall mean any food that is produced
5 from an organism or organisms in which the genetic material has been
6 changed through the application of:
7 (A) In vitro nucleic acid techniques, including recombinant deoxyribo-
8 nucleic acid (DNA) techniques and the direct injection of nucleic acid
9 into cells or organelles, or
10 (B) Fusion of cells, including protoplast fusion, or hybridization
11 techniques that overcome natural physiological, reproductive, or recom-
12 bination barriers, where the donor cells/protoplasts do not fall within
13 the same taxonomic family, in a way that does not occur by natural
14 multiplication or natural recombination.
15 (ii) For purposes of this article (A) "Organism" means any biological
16 entity capable of replication, reproduction, or transferring genetic
18 (B) "In vitro nucleic acid techniques" include, but are not limited
19 to, recombinant DNA or RNA techniques that use vector systems and tech-
20 niques involving the direct introduction into the organisms of heredi-
21 tary materials prepared outside the organisms such as micro-injection,
22 macro-injection, chemoporation, electroporation, micro-encapsulation,
23 and liposome fusion.
24 (d) "Processed food" shall mean any food other than a raw agricultural
25 commodity, and includes any food produced from a raw agricultural
26 commodity that has been subject to processing such as canning, smoking,
27 pressing, cooking, freezing, dehydration, fermentation, or milling.
28 (e) "Processing aid" shall mean (1) A substance that is added to a
29 food during the processing of such food, but is removed in some manner
30 from the food before it is packaged in its finished form;
31 (2) A substance that is added to a food during processing, is
32 converted into constituents normally present in the food, and does not
33 significantly increase the amount of the constituents naturally found in
34 the food; or
35 (3) A substance that is added to a food for its technical or func-
36 tional effect in the processing, but is present in the finished food at
37 insignificant levels and does not have any technical or functional
38 effect in that finished food.
39 (f) "Food processing establishment" shall have the meaning set forth
40 in section 251-z-2 of the agriculture and markets law.
41 § 266-b. Labeling of genetic engineering of food. (a) Commencing July
42 first, two thousand fifteen, any food offered for retail sale in New
43 York is misbranded if it is or may have been entirely or partially
44 produced with genetic engineering and that fact is not disclosed: (i) In
45 the case of a raw agricultural commodity on the package offered for
46 retail sale, with the clear and conspicuous words "genetically engi-
47 neered" on the front of the package of such commodity or, in the case of
48 any such commodity that is not separately packaged or labeled, on a
49 label appearing on the retail store shelf or bin in which such commodity
50 is displayed for sale; (ii) in the case of any processed food, in clear
51 and conspicuous language on the front or back of the package of such
52 food, with the words "partially produced with genetic engineering" or
53 "may be partially produced with genetic engineering".
54 (b) Subdivision (a) of this section and subdivision (e) of section two
55 hundred sixty-six-d of this article shall not be construed to require
56 either the listing or identification of any ingredient or ingredients
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1 that were genetically engineered or that the term "genetically engi-
2 neered" be placed immediately preceding any common name or primary prod-
3 uct descriptor of a food.
4 § 266-c. Misbranding of genetically engineered food as "natural". In
5 addition to any disclosure required by section two hundred sixty-six-b
6 of this article, if a food meets any of the definitions in subdivision
7 (c) or (d) of section two hundred sixty-six-a of this article, and is
8 not otherwise exempted from labeling under section two hundred sixty-
9 six-d of this article, the food may not in New York, on its label,
10 accompanying signage in a retail establishment, or in any advertising or
11 promotional materials, state or imply that the food is "natural,"
12 "naturally made," "naturally grown," "all natural," or any words of
13 similar import that would have any tendency to mislead any consumer.
14 § 266-d. Exemptions. The requirements of section two hundred sixty-
15 six-b of this article shall not apply to any of the following:
16 (a) Food consisting entirely of, or derived entirely from, an animal
17 that has not itself been genetically engineered, regardless of whether
18 such animal has been fed or injected with any genetically engineered
19 food or any drug that has been produced through means of genetic engi-
21 (b) A raw agricultural commodity or food derived therefrom that has
22 been grown, raised, or produced without the knowing and intentional use
23 of genetically engineered seed or food. Food will be deemed to be
24 described in the preceding sentence only if the person otherwise respon-
25 sible for complying with the requirements of subdivision (a) of section
26 two hundred sixty-six-b of this article with respect to a raw agricul-
27 tural commodity or food obtains, from whoever sold the commodity or food
28 to that person, a sworn statement that such commodity or food: (i) has
29 not been knowingly or intentionally genetically engineered; and (ii) has
30 been segregated from, and has not been knowingly or intentionally
31 commingled with, food that may have been genetically engineered at any
32 time. In providing such a sworn statement, any person may rely on a
33 sworn statement from his or her own supplier that contains the affirma-
34 tion set forth in the preceding sentence.
35 (c) Any processed food that would be subject to section two hundred
36 sixty-six-b of this article solely because it includes one or more
37 genetically engineered processing aids or enzymes.
38 (d) Any alcoholic beverage.
39 (e) Until July first, two thousand twenty, any processed food that
40 would be subject to section two hundred sixty-six-b of this article
41 solely because it includes one or more genetically engineered ingredi-
42 ents, provided that: (i) no single such ingredient accounts for more
43 than one-half of one percent of the total weight of such processed food;
44 and (ii) the processed food does not contain more than ten such ingredi-
46 (f) Food that an independent organization has determined has not been
47 knowingly and intentionally produced from or commingled with genetically
48 engineered seed or genetically engineered food, provided that such
49 determination has been made pursuant to a sampling and testing procedure
50 approved in regulations adopted by the department of agriculture and
51 markets. No sampling procedure shall be approved by the department
52 unless sampling is done according to a statistically valid sampling plan
53 consistent with principles recommended by internationally recognized
54 sources such as the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the
55 Grain and Feed Trade Association (GAFTA). No testing procedure shall be
56 approved by the department unless: (i) it is consistent with the the
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1 most recent "Guidelines on Performance Criteria and Validation of Meth-
2 ods for Detection, Identification and Quantification of Specific DNA
3 Sequences and Specific Proteins in Foods," (CAC/GL 74 (2010)) published
4 by the Codex Alimentarius Commission; and (ii) it does not rely on test-
5 ing of processed foods in which no DNA is detectable.
6 (g) Food that has been lawfully certified to be labeled, marketed, and
7 offered for sale as "organic" pursuant to the federal Organic Food
8 Products Act of 1990 and the regulations promulgated pursuant thereto by
9 the United States Department of Agriculture.
10 (h) Food that is not packaged for retail sale and that either: (i) is
11 a processed food prepared and intended for immediate human consumption
12 or (ii) is served, sold, or otherwise provided in any restaurant or
13 other food facility that is primarily engaged in the sale of food
14 prepared and intended for immediate human consumption.
15 (i) Medical food.
16 § 266-e. Enforcement. The commissioner of agriculture and markets may
17 institute such action at law or in equity as may appear necessary to
18 enforce compliance with any provisions of this article or of the rules
19 and regulations promulgated thereunder, and, in addition to any other
20 remedy under article three of the agriculture and markets law or other-
21 wise, may apply for relief by injunction if necessary to protect the
22 public interest without being compelled to allege or prove that an
23 adequate remedy at law does not exist. Such application may be made to
24 the supreme court in any district or county as provided in the civil
25 practice law and rules, or to the supreme court in the third judicial
27 § 4. This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall
28 have become a law.