Ceramic Industry

House Approves Partial Preemption of Proposition 65 (3/10/06)

March 10, 2006

The House of Representatives voted in favor of H.R. 4167, the National Uniformity for Food Act, on March 8. The bill was passed by a 283-189 margin with support from 212 Republicans and 71 Democrats. The House also rejected several amendments that would have crippled the bill, although an amendment was passed that would permit states to maintain warning restrictions for seafood. H.R. 4167 would prohibit any state from establishing or enforcing notification or warning requirements for food, food components or packaging that were not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The bill was sponsored by Reps. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and received the support of 226 co-sponsors. Congress has long recognized the importance of setting nationally uniform food standards, with the Department of Agriculture and FDA serving as the primary guardians of food safety.

If enacted, H.R. 4167 would prevent California enforcement of Proposition 65 warning requirements for food and food packaging that differed from FDA requirements unless the agency were to formally approve of the warnings. As approved by the House, this bill would apply to all food packages, including glass bottles. The bill must now be introduced and passed by the Senate before it can be submitted to the President for approval. The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is the leading industry group supporting this legislation, which is opposed by the Attorney General of California, some food-safety officials and consumer activists. The Society of Glass & Ceramic Decorators (SGCD) is working with legislators and the GMA coalition to support the legislation.

For more information, visit www.uniformityforfood.org or contact Andy Bopp, SGCD's director of public affairs, at (703) 838-2810.