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PSN on March 9, 2006 - 12:28pm
Hard-pressed to find something to do less popular than sell-out for campaign contributions or outsource port operations to foreign governments, the U.S. Congress is now considering a bill to gut state food safety protections.
The sponsor of the measure, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan), says the measure is necessary because the same food safety measures are necessary everywhere. Given that Rep. Rogers is talking about gutting those very food safety measures, California's Attorney General offered up a response that required mild censorship by The Sacramento Bee. There are, of course, good reasons to be concerned about Rogers' plan. First, the federal government doesn't have the background and training in certain areas of food safety work that states do (and even when they have the background and training, the federal government has occasionally done its best to deny its inspectors tools they need to enforce the law).
The Center for Science in the Public Interest notes that over 250 state laws are at risk and that merely dealing with the administrative hassles of the new bill will cost the federal government $100 million. Among the laws being gutted are milk safety laws in all fifty states that have no federal counterpart.
$100 million: that's a big pricetag to make sure consumers in some states aren't getting better protection than consumers in other states.