Labels required in one state often become requisite for products sold throughout the U.S. This effect recently helped lead to standardized nationwide regulations around genetically modified ingredients, due to the fact that Vermont was spearheading its own labeling initiative. California's Proposition 65 is one of the best-known of these labeling rules, as it is the labeling regulation around ingredients that have been found to potentially cause cancer. Now, this ruling is in line for change, forcing companies to pay more attention.
New Clarity Definition Incoming
Speaking to Packaging World, Keller and Heckman LLP's Mitzi Ng Clark explained that on August 30, 2018, a new set of rulings will come into effect around the enforcement of Proposition 65. The definition of the words "clear and reasonable" have received an update. According to Clark, this means even when an organization puts a carcinogen warning on its package, it may end up in legal hot water if the label isn't comprehensive enough. Under the new regulations, firms will have to name at least one potential toxicant present, and include information that sends consumers to the Lead Agency's website.
Caution regarding Proposition 65 labeling strategies is warranted, Clark told Packaging World. She stated that individuals can bring lawsuits regarding a lack of Proposition 65 labels. Companies that have assessed their risk and decided not to apply these labels might end up facing legal penalties after losing suits. Clark noted that there were 333 judgments in Proposition 65 cases in 2017, and the payouts from the cases totaled $167 million.
Legal Challenge Launched
In a Lexology article, law firm Mintz Levin pointed out that the August 30 changes aren't the only issues underway regarding the California law. Companies have challenged the presence of particular chemicals on the list of potential carcinogens. Previously, Monsanto challenged the presence of Glyphosphate on the Proposition 65 list. That case is presently under review.
More recently, an industry coalition has filed a suit designed to argue that companies can't be compelled to disclose the presence of Glyphosphate, a chemical whose labeling as an herbicide is governed by the Environmental Protection Agency. The plaintiffs' case rests on the conflict between federal and state laws, in which they argue federal regulations take precedence.
When companies have in-house printers to handle their product labeling, they're ready to handle changes to state and federal regulations. When they create the labels within their own facilities, they don't have to grapple with making bulk orders of packaging that may fall out of step with regulations before it's used up. Check out these printers in the Argon U.S. web store or on our Canadian page.