Thursday, March 02, 2006

Miss Information Part I

From today's New York Times Editorial Page: The Abusive New Federalism. This is a follow up to this piece from a few days ago: Bill May Undo States' Rules on Safe Food

Perhaps it goes without saying, but the New York Times just can't be trusted to properly report on legal and scientific issues. The Times, along with spokesmen from so-called consumer groups paint a picture of Congress preempting all state food and safety regulation, eliminating state standards that are stricter than the national average. The only problem is, the proposed bill does no such thing.

The full text of the bill is available here. The relevant portions:


(a) Uniformity requirement.

(1) In general.

Except as provided in subsections (c) and (d), no State or political subdivision of a State may, directly or indirectly, establish or continue in effect under any authority any notification requirement for a food that provides for a warning concerning the safety of the food, or any component or package of the food, unless such a notification requirement has been prescribed under the authority of this Act and the State or political subdivision notification requirement is identical to the notification requirement prescribed under the authority of this Act.

This act applies only to warning labels and notification requirements- It does not amount to a total preemption of all state food safety standards. It does not, as the Times says, "threaten existing food safety programs affecting things like restaurant sanitation and sales of milk and numerous other vital products."

How can the Times get it so wrong? One wonders if they actually looked at the text of the bill, or merely relied on statements from the Bill's opponents. In the realm of regulation, this is particularly disturbing given the general public's lack of familiarity with the subject in the first place.


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