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6-Regulation: Parliament of Oregon (USA) votes against local GEfood labeling measures



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TITLE:  House tries to halt local food labeling
        If the Senate OKs the bill, cities could not have stricter laws
than the U.S.
SOURCE: Associated Press/The Statesman Journal , USA, by Peter Prengaman
        http://news.statesmanjournal.com/article.cfm?i=59821
DATE:   Apr 12, 2003

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House tries to halt local food labeling
If the Senate OKs the bill, cities could not have stricter laws than the U.S.

Hoping to squash any future attempts by local governments to impose their
own food labeling laws, the House on Friday passed a bill to prohibit
labeling requirements more stringent than federal standards.

Backers say the proposal aims to pre-empt efforts like last year's Ballot
Measure 27, which sought to require labeling of genetically modified
foods sold in Oregon.

"Local governments have gone forward with many ideas that go beyond
federal laws," said Rep. Jeff Kropf, a Sublimity Republican who sponsored
the bill. "This pre-emption avoids the crazy quilt and patchwork laws"
that could result if cities came up with their own requirements.

The bill, approved 43-8, now moves to the Senate.

More than a dozen states have adopted their own labeling standards on
certain foods to make up for perceived gaps in the policies of the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration.

Oregon's own open date labeling law, which informs customers how long a
perishable food can be sold as fresh, is tougher than federal standards.

The House bill passed Friday wouldn't ban efforts by the Oregon
Legislature or statewide initiatives to raise standards. It would only
prevent local governments from doing so on their own.

Before the vote, opponents of the bill, all Democrats, argued that the
proposal was a solution looking for a problem.

"What cities are currently doing this?" asked Rep. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene.

Kropf answered that he wasn't aware of any.

"Then there is no reason to address something that hasn't occurred,"
Prozanski said.

The food industry spent more than $5 million to defeat Measure 27 last
November, possibly the most ever spent on an Oregon ballot measure.

Groups such as the Oregon Grocery Association and the Oregon Farm Bureau
argued that any added requirements would put state producers at a
competitive disadvantage.