On Friday, March 1, SB234 was reheard in Senate Judiciary. On Wednesday, we had been told that it would not be heard as the committee hearings would end at 6 pm. So, we left. Later, after the Chair, Sen. Richard Martinez, and other Democrats had left, Sen. Joseph Cervantes had the bill heard and it passed. We complained, especially since this bill directly impacts Sen. Cervantes. His brother is the President of the NM Chile Association.
On Friday, the bill passed as three Democratic senators were not in the room to vote. It now goes to the Senate Floor. The vote was Democrats (2 – Wirth, McSorley) against the Republicans (4 – Torraco, Payne, Griggs, Ryan)and Sen. Cervantes (D).
An amendment presented on Friday was for restaurants (SB234):
1. On page 3, strike line 2 through 5 in their entirety and
insert in lieu thereof
“C. The prohibitions in this section do not apply to a restaurant that
describes a menu item using a geographic name provided for in Paragraph (2)of Subsection A of this section; provided that the origin of any chile in the menu is not misrepresented.”
Meanwhile, the House version will now go to Senate Conservation.
At the hearing Gene Baca of Bueno Foods presented. He had a bag of red chile pods that said “New Mexico Chile” and it was labeled “Hecho en Mexico.” They considered this a violation because the company used the term “New Mexico Chile.”
We then pointed out that under FDA guidelines it was correct. “NM” is
the cultivar and it did not say it was from NM, it clearly states “Hecho en Mexico.” He shook his head in agreement.
We the pointed out that the argument companies had used against
the GMO labeling bill was that they would have to create a new
label for NM. And now, the NM Chile Association is asking for exactly the same thing.
Special thanks for Sen. Wirth (505-986-4861) and Sen. McSorley (505-986-4389) Please call their offices and thank them for their support. Also, thanks to the woman who spoke at the end, Food and Water Watch and NM Conservation Voters for their ongoing support. And to everyone who has attended hearings, waited and waited, and everyone who continues to call.