This bill has been introduced every year since 1998. This law would pre-empt states like CA or others from identifying and requiring lables identifying possible harmful agents in food. It will concentrate all the power of food labling in the hands of the few. As the FDA shows, this type of centralization of power only creates room for political corruption of agencies regulating the food industry. While consistency of labling would be nice, the regulatory review of harmful substances in food by individual states would curbed.
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Consumer groups blast US House bill on food safety
Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:46 PM ET
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By Charles Abbott
WASHINGTON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Some 200 state food-safety laws would be overridden under a bill nearing a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives that would require nationwide standards, consumer activists and state officials said on Tuesday.
Representatives could vote on the bill as early as this week. Backers say a uniform standard is preferable to food safety warnings and labeling rules that can vary by state.
"The current bill would prohibit every kind of warning a state might require, even if it's not on the label," said Edward Weil, deputy California attorney general.
The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, whose members regulate parts of the food chain, said the bill could interfere with inspection of food plants and food safety investigations. The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Science in the Pubic Interest also warned of the far reach of the legislation.
"This is clearly a radical change in the law governing our food safety system," said Rep. Henry Waxman, California Democrat, who joined foes in a telephone news conference. "This bill would eliminate virtually every state and local law" on food safety.
Business groups who support the bill say it would lead to harmonization of state laws on food adulteration and food warnings. No existing state law would be preempted without review by the Food and Drug Administration, they said in a recent statement.
But opponents said many state laws would be obliterated unless they applied to a specific material in a product.
"It applies to any kind of a disclosure requirement," said Edward Weil, deputy California attorney general, even if the warning did not appear on the label.
The Congressional Budget Office said in a report the scope of the law was ambiguous.
"For example, it is unclear whether certain provisions of the legislation would preempt only state and local requirements dealing with food labeling or whether the preemption would apply more broadly to other food safety requirements," said CBO.
CBO said it assumed states would submit "roughly 200 petitions" to FDA to remove any doubt about if their laws remained in effect. Consumer activists cited that figure during the news conference to say 200 laws were in jeopardy.