National Uniformity for Food Act Would Undermine Our Best Food Safety Standards

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Have you heard about the ‘National Uniformity for Food Act’ yet? If
passed, this controversial bill will undermine approximately 200
state food safety and food labeling laws, and prohibit state and
local governments from setting food safety standards higher than
those established by the federal government.

Currently, states have chosen to set higher standards in numerous
areas. For instance, local state governments maintain regulations
that ensure food served in restaurants, schools and nursing homes
is safe to eat. (The federal FDA has no requirements for the
safety of food served in such establishments.) According to Rep.
Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), ‘This bill would eliminate virtually every
state and local law that provides greater protection than our
federal food laws.’

Alaska labels all its genetically modified fish. New York and Rhode
Island limit toxic materials in food packaging. Illinois regulates
egg processing to reduce contamination. California has set a
maximum for lead and alcohol content in candy, requires the
labeling of ingredients that are known to be carcinogens and
prohibits the use of certain dietary supplements by high school
athletes. Sixteen states assure that shellfish is not contaminated.
Maine requires that food producers disclose the use of post-harvest
pesticides. Numerous states regulate potentially harmful food
additives. Maryland requires a label if ‘fresh’ food was previously
frozen, and Delaware requires one if carbonated beverages contain
artificial sweeteners.

By enacting legislation that makes food laws all conform to one
federal model, all these progressive policies will be made
illegal. Supporters of the bill include food giants such as
HJ Heinz Co., Kraft Foods, Sara Lee Corp., Nestle USA and many
supermarket chains.

This legislation has already passed the House (H.R. 4167), but it’s
not too late to do something about it! The Senate Health,
Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is considering the National
Uniformity for Food Act (S. 3128) this week.