(March 9, 2006, Silver Spring, MD) -- The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed the National Uniformity for Food Act (H.R. 4167) by a vote of 238 to 139 after amending it to exclude all dietary supplements from its scope.
The Bill would generally prohibit individual states from requiring food products in interstate trade to conform to state regulations or labeling rules that are not identical to federal provisions. It would also allow states to petition for an exemption or for the establishment of a national standard regarding any requirement under federal laws relating to food regulation. The original draft of the Bill would have extended to all foods, including dietary supplements, but an amendment offered by Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) revised the exclusion section of the original version so that the proposed law would have no effect on dietary supplements.
“AHPA has supported this legislation because we believe that marketers of goods in interstate trade need to be able to label their products with a single label for the whole country,” stated Michael McGuffin, president of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA). “We will now have to reconsider that support, and can think of no reason why the rational approach originally described in this bill should be replaced by an irrational return to a patchwork of state labeling rules for supplements. We will make every effort to see to it that any Senate companion bill addresses this inconsistency.”
The National Uniformity for Food Act would not override all state-imposed food regulations. It would maintain individual state’s authority to address imminent hazards and to require consumer advisories relating to food sanitation imposed on food establishments, such as restaurants. The text of the Bill and other information can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:h.r.04167: (best results from copying and pasting the link into your browser, as opposed to clicking on the link).
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The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the only national trade association devoted solely to herbal issues. Representing the core of the botanical trade -- comprised of the finest growers, processors, manufacturers and marketers of herbal products -- AHPA’s mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. AHPA committees generate self-regulations to ensure the highest level of quality with respect to the way herbs are manufactured, labeled, and sold. Website: www.ahpa.org.