Daily News Archive
March 1, 2006
Poised to Pass Bill Taking Away Your Right to Know What's In Your Food
(Beyond Pesticides, March 1, 2006) The House of Representatives
will vote this week on the controversial "National Uniformity for
Food Act " labeling law that will take away local government and
states' power to require food safety food labels such as those required
in California and other states on foods or beverages that are likely
to cause cancer, birth defects, allergic reactions, or mercury poisoning.
This bill would also prevent citizens in local municipalities and states
from passing laws requiring that genetically engineered foods and ingredients
such as Monsanto's recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) be labeled.
The House will vote
March 2, 2006 on a bill that would gut state food safety and labeling
laws. H.R. 4167, the "National Uniformity for Food Act," lowers
the bar on food safety by overturning state food safety laws that are
not "identical" to federal law. Hundreds of state laws and
regulations are at risk, including those governing the safety of milk,
fish, and shellfish. The bill is being pushed by large supermarket chains
and food manufacturers, spearheaded by the powerful Grocery Manufacturers
According to the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), H.R. 4167 could
preempt approximately 80 state laws that are already on the books in
37 states. The bill will impact the strict laws in states such as California,
Florida, Louisiana and Rhode Island that require warning labels on shellfish,
which often carry lethal pathogens, laws in Illinois and Pennsylvania
that regulate the safety of eggs; a law in Alaska requiring labeling
of genetically modified fish or fish products; and state mercury warnings,
such as California's strong point-of-purchase mercury warnings for fish.
In addition to preempting the already established food safety laws,
according to PIRG, H.R. 4167 will forever tie the hands of states and
municipalities on a range of emerging food safety issues, whether or
not the federal government has addressed public health concerns. Among
other things, states and localities would not be able to regulate and
label food products that contain irradiated ingredients, pesticides,
antibiotics, or genetically modified organisms.
Devin Nunes (R-CA) said, "The bottom line is, you have to have
continuity in food labeling, because you never know when the food is
going to go across state lines.” Agreeing with the concerns expressed
by California environmental groups, California Attorney General Bill
Lockyer warns the legislation would dismantle the state's own strict
standards, which includes the Proposition 65 rules that have been in
place since 1986.
Read the full text
of the bill at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h109-4167.
ACTION: Industry-sponsored H.R. 4167 is gaining momentum
and must be stopped! Act now to preserve local and regional democracy
and protect yourself and your family from unsafe food by calling or
sending a message to your Congressman
or Congresswoman to vote "No" on House of Representatives
Bill H.R. 4167, the "National Uniformity for Food Act," by
Thursday, March 2 Your Congress Member in the House of Representatives
to Vote "No" on H.R. 4167.