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 confusion. 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 families. * 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 appropriate. * 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 at http://www.gmabrands.com.
SOURCE Grocery Manufacturers Association