National Uniformity for Food Act

Mar 03, 2006, 00:00 ET from Grocery Manufacturers Association

    WASHINGTON, March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- This week, the U.S. House of
 Representatives began its consideration of H.R. 4167, the National Uniformity
 for Food Act.  A vote on this important piece of legislation is expected as
 early as March 8.  As the House debate begins, opponents of the bill have put
 forth a significant amount of misinformation about the bill.  This advisory
 outlines the key provisions of the bill as well as clarifies areas of
     What the Bill Does:
     * Helps Consumers: Under the current regulatory system, each of the 50
       states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can require
       separate and conflicting food safety and warning information on packaged
       foods, fostering confusion among consumers.  H.R. 4167 is a common-sense
       bill that would ensure that the FDA and the states work collaboratively
       to develop a single set of food safety and warning standards that will
       help consumers make educated decisions for themselves and their
     * Protects State's Rights: The National Uniformity for Food Act strikes
       an important balance between states' rights and consumers' need for food
       safety information that is consistent from state to state.  In instances
       where an existing state standard is different from the national
       standard, any state can ask the FDA to either be exempted or to set the
       state's standard as the national standard.  While the FDA makes a final
       determination -- based on the best-available science -- the state
       standard remains in effect.
     * Is Narrow in Scope: In contrast to the picture painted by opponents of
       H.R. 4167, the bill is narrow and covers only food safety and warning
       information for packaged food.  Any other state food laws are exempt,
       including those covering the sanitation of pecans and notices as to
       whether fish is fresh or frozen, to cite two of the more esoteric
       examples put forth by opponents of the bill.
     * Keeps Sanitation and Inspections Local: Under the bill, states and
       localities, not the FDA, will continue to conduct sanitation inspections
       and enforce regulations covering food and milk preparation/service at
       local establishments.
     * Lets States Continue Shellfish Warnings: Under the bill, warnings
       concerning the consumption of shellfish, important to many consumers,
       are exempt.  States remain free to require these warnings as they deem
     * Raises the Bar: Under H.R. 4167, food safety standards would be based
       on an expert, consensus review of the entire body of peer-reviewed,
       published scientific literature, ensuring sound science, not politics or
       fads, drive policy.
     Please keep this information in mind as you investigate and write about
 this very important piece of legislation.
     The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) represents the world's leading
 branded food, beverage and consumer products companies.  Since 1908, GMA has
 been an advocate for its members on public policy issues and has championed
 initiatives to increase industry wide productivity and growth.  GMA member
 companies employ more than 2.5 million workers in all 50 states and account
 for more than $680 billion in sales.  The association is led by a board of
 member company chief executives.  For more information, visit the GMA Web site

SOURCE Grocery Manufacturers Association