Senate bill would set uniform national food labeling, safety standards.Three senators have introduced controversial legislation that would provide for nationally uniform food safety standards Safety standards are standards designed to ensure the safety of products, activities or processes, etc. They may be advisory or compulsory and are normally laid down by an advisory or regulatory body that may be either voluntary or statutory. and warning labels on packaged foods by establishing FDA FDA
Food and Drug Administration
n.pr See Food and Drug Administration.
n.pr the abbreviation for the Food and Drug Administration. as the final authority on these matters, an action that would result in state governments losing some of those powers. The measure (S 3128), sponsored by Sens. Richard Burr Richard Mauze Burr (born November 30, 1955) is a United States Senator from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. A Republican, Burr represented North Carolina's 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives for five terms, and was elected to represent North (R-N R-N Raion (Russian, district; used in postal addresses) .C.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Pat Roberts Charles Patrick "Pat" Roberts (born April 20, 1936) is the junior United States Senator from Kansas. A member of the Republican Party, he was formerly the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. (R-Kan.), is companion legislation to a measure (HR 4167) approved 283-139 last March by the House.
Under provisions of NAFTA NAFTA
in full North American Free Trade Agreement
Trade pact signed by Canada, the U.S., and Mexico in 1992, which took effect in 1994. Inspired by the success of the European Community in reducing trade barriers among its members, NAFTA created the world's , a common market for sweeteners will exist between the United States and Mexico beginning Jan. 1, 2008.
According to the Grocery Manufacturers Association The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is a trade association based in Washington, D.C..
Since 1908, GMA has been representing the world's largest branded food, beverage and consumer product companies. , which supports the legislation, the Senate bill "ensures the same level of protection for consumers no matter where they live, places our nation's food safety in the hands of the world's leading experts at [FDA], and preserves the appropriate role for states and the federal government when it comes to food safety."
When HR 4167 was under consideration by the House, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture opposed the measure, saying in a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee that NASDA NASDA National Space Development Agency (Japanese Space Agency)
NASDA National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
NASDA National Association of State Development Agencies members "are very concerned that this bill goes far beyond its stated purpose of providing uniform food safety warning notification requirements and expands federal preemption preemption
U.S. policy that allowed the first settlers, or squatters, on public land to buy the land they had improved. Since improved land, coveted by speculators, was often priced too high for squatters to buy at auction, temporary preemptive laws allowed them to acquire under the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act." NASDA said such additional preemptions "would seriously compromise states' ability to enact laws and issue rules in numerous areas of food safety." Specifically, said NASDA, "we believe the bill as currently written threatens existing state food safety programs and jeopardizes state/federal food safety cooperative programs such as those related to Grade A milk, retail food protection and shellfish sanitation." In addition, attorneys general from 37 states earlier wrote to members of Congress to express their opposition to the House bill. In their letter, the AGs point out that "Food safety has been largely a matter of state law and oversight for more than a century," and that about 80 percent of all U.S. food safety enforcement currently is conducted at the local and state levels.
According to the National Uniformity for Food Coalition, since each of the 50 states currently has the ability to require its own warning labels separate and apart from FDA requirements, it results in a "multi-tiered regulatory environment [that] is highly inefficient, and serves to confuse, rather than educate, consumers." Further, says the coalition, the measure would preserve "the appropriate roles for both the state and federal government."
The coalition notes that the bill provides a process for states to petition FDA to review and consider adopting their unique state standard as a national standard. States also can request an exemption based on special state needs. Finally, says the coalition, to ensure that current state requirements that are not consistent with federal standards are given appropriate consideration, all these state measures would remain in effect until FDA takes action on a state's petition.