The House passed legislation Wednesday that allows food companies to meet one, uniform federal standard rather than a patchwork of 50 state rules and regulations.
Introduced by Reps. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., the bill - National Uniformity for Food Act - creates a uniform, national system that recognizes the role of state and local governments in the regulation of food products and integrates them into a national system.
Cal Dooley, president and CEO of the Food Products Association, says the Uniformity Bill provides for the review and harmonization of state food laws with federal standards, so that states and the federal government will work collaboratively to inform consumers, rather than maintaining differing requirements that can vary from state to state.
The bill gives states the ability to petition the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to apply their safety standards nationally. In addition, state governments would retain their authority to enforce existing regulations for inspections and sanitation requirements as well as the ability to issue their own warnings.
"National uniformity in food laws is not a new concept. All meat and poultry regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture have national uniformity under the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act," says Dooley. "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."
Currently, there is not a Senate version of the bill.