Federal Bill Would Counteract California Anti-Toxics Law
The food industry is lobbying Congress to approve a bill "aimed at reining in California's Proposition 65" that would require states to obtain FDA approval before mandating warnings on food packaging, store shelves and in advertising, the Los Angeles Times reports. Proposition 65, passed in 1986, requires all businesses to alert the public to substances "known to the state to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm."
Under the federal bill, states would need FDA approval to impose rules that differed from federal standards.
Supporters of the bill say multiple state laws regulating food products could increase the cost of food. However, bill proponents "also acknowledge that their main target is Proposition 65," the Times reports.
Food industry officials say the federal bill would still allow states to issue public announcements about potentially dangerous substances in foods.
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) in a letter to lawmakers said Proposition 65 has led to reductions of toxic substances in some products before FDA acted and "in some instances may have spurred FDA to take action that otherwise never would have been taken."
In addition, Ed Weil, a lawyer at the attorney general's office, said the law has pressured food manufacturers to reduce toxic substances in products (Simon, Los Angeles Times, 2/9).