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WASHINGTON -- The Food Marketing Institute and Grocery Manufacturers Association are among the industry trade groups that praised yesterday's passage of H.R. 4167, the National Uniformity for Food Act. The Senate will consider the bill next.
Tim Hammonds, president and c.e.o. of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), said, "This legislation will deliver much-needed clarity and consistency for consumers in the standards safeguarding America's food supply."
In FMI's view, the legislation establishes a system to harmonize myriad state and federal laws governing food safety and warnings to protect consumers. It seeks to eliminate conflicting and inconsistent regulations that subject identical food products to different standards among different states and the federal government.
States can petition the FDA to have their food safety regulations incorporated into the national standards or to have them exempted from the uniformity requirement, FMI noted. State laws would remain in effect during the review process.
GMA president and c.e.o. C. Manly Molpus noted, "Today's House vote for the National Uniformity for Food Act reaffirms the belief that all consumers should have the best, science-based food safety standards and information available to them -- regardless of where they live. As long-time proponents of this important legislation, we believe this common-sense legislation will help consumers in all 50 states make educated decisions for themselves and their families in an ever-changing and currently confusing food labeling environment."
The Food Products Association (FPA) also offered support for the bill. "H.R. 4167 recognizes that it makes no sense to have different states adopting different regulatory requirements on identical food products," said Cal Dooley, president and c.e.o, in a statement.
"National uniformity in food laws is not a new concept," added Dooley. "All meat and poultry regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have national uniformity under the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act. The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, passed by Congress in 1990, which mandated the Nutrition Facts Panel now found on most food packages, also contained uniformity provisions."
The bill was introduced by Congressmen Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), and co-sponsored by 225 additional members of Congress.