House Passes Food Labeling Bill
The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 283-139 to approve a bill that would prohibit states from establishing food-safety warnings that are stricter than federal requirements, the Copley News/San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Eckert, Copley News/San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/9).
Critics of the bill say it could preempt about 200 existing state laws, including Proposition 65 in California, which requires public notices on products that contain substances "known to the state to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm."
The legislation would create national standards for food-safety labels on packaging, store shelves and advertisements (Simon, Los Angeles Times, 3/9). Exemptions could be granted for warnings that "would not unduly burden interstate commerce" (Copley News/San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/9).
An amendment to the bill would require federal regulators to conduct "expedited" reviews of proposed state food safety rules (Doyle, Sacramento Bee, 3/9). The House also passed an amendment that would allow states to retain warnings about mercury in fish, but rejected and amendment to keep warnings about sulfites and meat treated with carbon monoxide (Coile, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/9).
According to the Times, the bill "faces an uncertain fate" in the Senate, where Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) have voiced opposition to the bill (Los Angeles Times, 3/9).