For Uniform Food Labeling

Published March 30, 2006

Dear Editor:

The Tribune‘s March 20 editorial opposing the National Food Uniformity Act [“Stomping on State Standards”] failed to mention a few key facts.

First, the idea that the national government rather than individual states ought to regulate what goes on food labels is neither new nor even controversial. We already have the Federal Meat Inspection Act (passed in 1906), Poultry Products Inspection Act (1957), Egg Products Inspection Act (1970), Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (1990), and Food Quality Protection Act (1996).

I haven’t heard or read anyone claiming those laws ought to be repealed.

Second, the proposed new law would give states a robust role in how the federal standards are set and enforced. This is “preemption lite.” It could have been, and arguably should have been, less considerate of states’ rights.

Finally, the editorial was silent on what is really driving the opposition to this common-sense legislative reform. It is the usual line-up of liberal and anti-corporate advocacy groups who have found state regulators more receptive to their junk science, alarmism, and anti-business philosophy than are federal officials.

The National Food Uniformity Act simply responds to the tactics of agenda-driven advocates who don’t really care about food safety or affordability. It’s hardly suprising, then, to find those same advocates lined up in opposition to this legislation.

Joseph L. Bast
Chicago, IL

Joseph L. Bast ([email protected]) is president of The Heartland Institute, a 22-year-old nonprofit research organization based in Chicago.