National Uniformity for Food Act of 2005-- (House of Representatives - March 02, 2006)
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Mr. GOODLATTE. Madam Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Georgia for yielding me this time and for his leadership on this issue, and I rise in support of H.R. 4167, the National Uniformity for Food Act of 2005. This bill takes a measured approach to national uniformity for food by providing a mechanism for a thorough, orderly review of States' existing regulations that may differ from those of the Federal Government.
In the United States, the food production and distribution system is truly national. Products made in one State are distributed not only in all 50 States, but also the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, and many countries around the globe. Consumers, as well as food manufacturers, have a right to expect that rational, scientifically based and consistent standards will apply. Citizens of all States and territories deserve and expect the same level of food safety protection. Likewise, all citizens in this country will benefit from uniform standards.
The House Committee on Agriculture oversees a significant portion of America's food safety system. The Federal food safety functions over which this committee has jurisdiction have long employed uniform standards to protect public health, facilitate the marketing of agricultural commodities, and improve efficiency of the interstate trading of producers' goods. The adoption of uniform standards is common practice and, indeed, the general rule when it comes to the Federal food safety efforts.
The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service is responsible for the safety of domestic and imported meat in the United States. It enforces uniform standards through the authority granted by USDA, by the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, the Ag Products Inspection Act, and other authorities.
Likewise, previous amendments to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which were included in the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, provided that a State may not set tolerance levels for pesticide residues that differ from national levels unless the State petitions the Environmental Protection Agency for an exception based on a State-specific situation.
Moreover, uniformity is not limited to those areas of food safety. Congress has repeatedly recognized the importance of uniformity in food regulation in other sectors. For example, the FDA, as authorized by the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, implements uniform standards for nutrition labeling, health claims, and standards of identity.
With the world's safest food supply, every American benefits from this system of national food safety standards. H.R. 4167 builds on this record of success by extending this same approach to food safety standards used by USDA and other agencies to the FDA's food safety programs. This is an important step forward in ensuring consumer confidence in the food they buy for their families, and I urge all Members to support H.R. 4167.
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