Food Engineering

REGULATORY WATCH

June 4, 2006


Food label war continues

California and several other states that have mandated strict food product labeling requirements are taking their fight against federal uniform standards to the US Senate. The House of Representatives approved legislation in March to set one national standard, so food manufacturers don't have to adopt different packaging for products sold in different states. California's consumer labeling laws are among the toughest in the nation, and both members of the Senate from that state (Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer) have announced their opposition of the National Uniformity for Food Act.

The Food Products Association shepherded the legislation through the House with bipartisan backing and said it expects to win passage in the Senate as well.

"If national uniformity is adopted, a consumer will be able to pick a product off the grocery shelf in any state and will be able to read-in addition to nutrition information such as the calories and nutrients found in the product-consistent science-based warnings that have been reviewed and accepted by government health authorities," said FPA President and CEO Cal Dooley.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who also opposes the measure, says California reserves the right to protect its consumers from products it deems harmful, even if the FDA does not agree.