Friday, March 03, 2006

House seeks to preempt state food safety rules

In recent years, the federal government has demonstrated little stomach for serious efforts to improve food safety. So, state governments have taken up the slack and passed a number of policies -- not so much to regulate food safety -- but just to require food companies to inform consumers about food safety hazards [3/12/2006: This introduction to the post does not get the story quite right. See correction].

After all, only informed consumers can steer the market economy down the road toward the public good.

This week, however, the federal government's House of Representatives finally roused itself from its slumber, and decided to take action -- to seek to overturn state-level food safety labeling rules.

See the Associated Press, Reuters, and New York Times.

From the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):
In a nutshell: a bill that effectively wipes out more than 200 food safety and labeling rules in 50 states has suddenly started to move, after having been dormant for ages. There have been no hearings, and hardly any public debate.

The potential consequences, of course, are huge.

People concerned about the bill can contact their lawmakers at NRDC’s action site.