US: Uniformity bill passes with mixed reaction
The National Uniformity for Food Act has passed the US House of Representatives bringing applause from the food industry but criticism from consumer groups.
Under the bill, states need FDA approval for labelling requirements differing from federal standards, changing current laws allowing states to adopt warnings or label rules that exceed federal standards.
The Food Products Association (FPA) reiterated comments, made before the passage of the bill, that consumers across the US deserve standards governing warning requirements associated with labelling, advertising and other forms of communication by food companies.
"The Food Products Association applauds the House for passing the National Uniformity for Food Act," said Cal Dooley, president and CEO of the FPA.
In contrast, consumer groups Consumers Union and Consumer Federation of America have today (9 March) criticised the House for approving what they call a "controversial bill that would wipe out at least 200 state laws without putting in place additional federal standards."
Consumers Union policy analyst Susanna Montezemolo said: "It would reduce food safety protections to the lowest common denominator and make states jump through expensive bureaucratic hoops to enact future food safety protections."
The two groups pointed out the bill's mounting opposition, including 39 state Attorneys General, as it moves to the Senate - adding in a statement that the "radical" bill had been passed with no hearings on the legislation in the eight years since it was first introduced.
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