The Accurate Labels Act, bipartisan legislation to provide American consumers with clear, accurate, meaningful nutrition information and prevent the issuance of inaccurate labels that mislead consumers and drive up prices, has been introduced.
Sen, Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, and Reps. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon, introduced the legislation.
The Accurate Labels Act would amend the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act to ensure consumers continue to benefit from the nutritional and allergy information on packaging today.
What does the bill do?
The ALA has three main objectives:
- Establish science-based criteria for all new state and local labeling requirements by making states and localities document the science behind their proposed labeling mandates;
- Allow state-mandated product information to be provided through SmartLabelTM and on web sites;
- Ensure that covered product is risk-based.
“Consumers deserve clear, accurate and meaningful labels on the food and other products they buy. In too many cases today, state laws like California’s Proposition 65 make this impossible; under that law, a profusion of labels based on dubious science means that consumers are confused and likely to treat the labels as visual white noise,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of NCFC. “The ALA will reestablish some common sense by making states and localities ‘show their work’ when setting out requirements for mandatory warning labels.”
“Our labeling requirements on the federal, state and local levels must be based on credible science so we can provide consumers with accurate, relevant and critical information pertaining to nutritional facts,” Moran said. “Not only do inaccurate labels confuse consumers, they increase prices at the point of sale and create unnecessary new regulatory burdens placed on farmers and small businesses.”
“Consumers deserve full transparency on the products they’re buying, no matter where they live or shop. Often times, due to various state laws, items are incorrectly labeled with warnings about harms that do not exist. This inaccuracy creates confusion and fear for the consumers, desensitizes the public from heeding serious warnings on health risks, and imposes unnecessary and costly regulatory burdens for producers,” Kinzinger said.
“When we have mandatory cancer warnings on a cup of coffee, something has gone seriously wrong with the process,” Schrader said. “We now have so many warnings unrelated to the actual health risk posed to consumers, that most people just ignore them. Enough is enough. We have a responsibility to ensure that consumers are presented with accurate information that is consistent, based on science, and provides a real value to the public to help make informed decisions on the safety of what they can consume.”
"The Accurate Labels Act is urgently needed legislation to require states to ‘show their work’ and document the science behind labeling mandates," said President and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives Chuck Conner. "State labeling requirements are confusing consumers and hurting farmers, manufacturers and small businesses. The Accurate Labels Act is a win for anyone interested in accurate, science-based product labeling.”
“To fulfill their purpose of helping consumers make informed choices based on facts, food labels must be science-based,” said American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “Congress should ensure that food labels are consistent, clear and credible. We support new legislation to make ‘smart labels’ the standard, uniform vehicle to accomplish that.”
Are there additional sponsors?
Reps. Buddy Carter, R-Georgia, Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., Richard Hudson, R-N.C., Collin Peterson, D-Minn., Filemon Vela, D-Texas, and Jim Costa, D-Calif., joined in introducing companion legislation in the U.S. House, H.R. 6022.
Who is supporting the legislation?
This legislation is supported by the American Chemistry Council, the Coalition for Accurate Product Labels, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.
Text of the legislation, S. 3019, is available here.
Source: Office of Sen. Jerry Moran, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, AFBF