Lockyer Opposes Tuna Label Ruling
Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) on Friday filed objections to a San Francisco Superior Court judge's ruling that the state cannot require tuna canners to place labels on their products to warn consumers about mercury levels, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. In the objection, Lockyer asked the court to stop publication of the order and reverse the ruling (Heckman, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 5/30).
The lawsuit -- filed by Lockyer under a provision of Proposition 65 -- claimed that methylmercury found in tuna can cause reproductive harm and cancer. Proposition 65, which California residents approved in 1986, requires warning labels on products containing chemicals that have been shown to cause cancer or birth defects.
Judge Robert Dondero ruled that the level of mercury in tuna is below state limits and that it occurs naturally in canned tuna, which exempts it from state warnings. FDA consumption recommendations and federal law already provide adequate protection for consumers, Dondero wrote (California Healthline, 5/15).
Lockyer spokesperson Tom Dresslar said of the court objections, "Dondero relied on an obsolete, 20-year-old study of rats, as opposed to more current studies of humans presented by the state" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 5/30).