Fri, 08 Jun 2018
USA - Bipartisan legislation would provide consumers with clear, accurate, meaningful information on packaging labels
US Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, and US Representatives Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) today introduced the Accurate Labels Act, bipartisan legislation to provide American consumers nationwide with clear, accurate, meaningful nutrition information and prevent the issuance of inaccurate labels that mislead consumers and drive up prices. 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.
“Congress has an important role to play in making certain Americans have the best possible information when making purchasing decisions,” said Sen. Moran. “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. 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,” said Rep. Kinzinger. “Today, I’m proud to introduce bipartisan legislation with my colleagues, Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), that establishes science-based criteria for labeling requirements, but also ensures that legitimate risks are taken seriously. The Accurate Labels Act is a commonsense measure to ensure consumers have clear and accurate product labels.”
“It’s time to bring science and reason back into the way we label products for the benefit of the American people,” said Rep. Schrader. “When we have mandatory cancer warnings on a cup of coffee, something has gone seriously wrong with the process. 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.”
US Representatives 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.
The Accurate Labels Act ensures that consumers have access to accurate and easy-to-understand product information by:
Establishing science-based criteria for all additional state and local labeling requirements;
Allowing state-mandated product information to be provided through smartphone-enabled “smart labels” and on websites, where consumers can find up-to-date, relevant ingredients and warnings; and ensuring that covered product information is risk-based.
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.
"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.”
Text of the legislation, S. 3019, is available here