Legislature(2003 - 2004)
02/16/2004 03:20 PM House L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HJR 35-MAD COW DISEASE/COUNTRY OF ORIGIN LABELS Number 0664 CHAIR ANDERSON announced that the next order of business would be HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 35, Relating to mad cow disease and country-of-origin labeling for meat products. CHAIR ANDERSON noted that Representative Crawford had joined the meeting. Number 0672 REPRESENTATIVE BETH KERTTULA, Alaska State Legislature, sponsor of HJR 35, introduced her staff, Aurora Hauke. Number 0686 AURORA HAUKE, Staff to Representative Beth Kerttula, Alaska State Legislature, introduced HJR 35 with the story of a girl from the United Kingdom who moved to Florida and began experiencing memory loss; she'd contracted a form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from eating beef contaminated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or "mad cow disease." Noting the 10-year incubation period in humans and that it affects mostly young people, Ms. Hauke said the median age at death is 29 years old. It was as recent as December 2003 that the first instance of the disease appeared in the U.S., causing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to try to control it; this resolution supports those efforts. MS. HAUKE pointed out that country-of-origin labeling implementation has been delayed by Congress until September 2006, and the resolution suggests moving the date back to September 2004. She said 43 countries currently have country- of-origin labeling as a way to address the spread of mad cow disease. Number 0875 REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM asked if other states have country-of- origin labeling requirements. REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA noted that the information could be obtained. Number 0925 REPRESENTATIVE GATTO began discussion of what later became Amendment 2. He asked if "bovine spongiform encephalopathy" could be used throughout the bill, rather than "mad cow disease", in order to address the issue legally and scientifically. He suggested an amendment [on line 1] that says the resolution addresses "bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease)". MS. HAUKE observed that the resolution uses "bovine spongiform encephalopathy" throughout the remainder. Number 0990 CHAIR ANDERSON turned to a different issue. Referring to page 2, lines 11-13, he asked whether there was agreement with the wording. He questioned the phrasing, though agreeing that Americans need to know what is in their food. Number 1005 REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM responded that she, as a consumer and parent, definitely wants to know where her food comes from. She suggested changing the semantics and asked if the sponsor could fix it. REPRESENTATIVE GATTO said he had the same question, and offered: "are better served by an awareness of". REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA suggested: "WHEREAS it's important for Americans to know". REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM offered: "WHEREAS Americans want to know" or "... Americans need to know". Number 1103 REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD said he didn't want to weaken the resolution in any way. He emphasized that Americans deserve to know what is in their food, where it comes from, the fat content, and country of origin. The wording [as it stands] states his feelings very well, he added. CHAIR ANDERSON responded that "deserve" is one issue and "need to know" another. He pointed out that the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] already has requirements in place. Number 1155 REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM remarked, "There are many people that do need to know what's in their food for purposes of allergies or things that would be life-threatening if they were to eat something." CHAIR ANDERSON said he didn't intend of offer an amendment and opined that readers would understand the resolution's intent. Number 1205 MS. HAUKE offered Amendment 1, which read [original punctuation provided]: Page 1 line 16 through page 2 line 2 Delete "identify and destroy cattle that are from the same herd as the infected cow and other animals that may have been exposed to that cow" Insert "control bovine spongiform encephalopathy" Number 1245 REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM moved to adopt the foregoing as Amendment 1. There being no objection, it was so ordered. Number 1259 REPRESENTATIVE GATTO moved to adopt Amendment 2 as follows: Page 1, line 1 After "Relating to" Add "bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease)" There being no objection, it was so ordered. Number 1290 REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM moved to report HJR 35, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations [and the accompanying fiscal notes]. There being no objection, CSHJR 35(L&C) was reported from the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.