House passes bill to annul states’ laws on food warnings

(via The Consumerist)

Well, it seems the federal government doesn’t want the states requiring companies to let you know what’s in the products you buy.

WASHINGTON – Legislation that could void hundreds of food-safety warnings in California and other states passed the House yesterday after heated debate.

The National Uniformity for Food Act, long sought by the food industry, would prohibit states from having food-contamination standards and warning labels that are stricter than federal requirements. Exemptions could be granted if the Food and Drug Administration determines they are needed and they “would not unduly burden interstate commerce.”

California, with its toughest-in-the-nation food-safety requirements, is a primary target of the legislation. Proposition 65, approved 20 years ago, requires warnings about chemicals that cause “cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.” California also has filed lawsuits seeking an array of warnings, including on the mercury content of canned tuna and the presence of lead in Mexican candy.

Read the full article for more details.  It is much longer than what I’ve highlighted.  Another snip that’s interesting:

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Atherton, noted the bill’s supporters have personal ties to food-industry lobbyists.

“This is not about consumers. This is about special interests,” Eshoo said.

The food industry fought back with letters of its own and ads in publications widely read on Capitol Hill.

Joy Philippi, president of the National Pork Producers Council, said the legislation “will give consumers even more confidence in the safety of the U.S. food supply.”

I don’t think Joy understands what inspires confidence.  The Jungle is a horrid book, but it does highlight the problems with the food industry when not regulated well.  And we’ve seen the federal government indicate a wish to relax food labelling requirements and inspection practices in recent history.  Let’s not allow food manufacturers to provide us less information on what we’re eating.

Notice that this allows the federal government to restrict states that want you, the consumer, to know what you are buying. I thought conservatives were supposed to shrink the government.

[tags]FDA, Food labeling[/tags]