Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/30/2004 01:35 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
     CSHJR 35(L&C)-MAD COW DISEASE/COUNTRY OF ORIGIN LABELS                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CON BUNDE announced HJR 35 to be up for consideration.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BETH  KERTTULA,  sponsor,  said  this  resolution                                                               
supports country of original labeling  and what the Food and Drug                                                               
Administration  (FDA)  is doing  to  protect  citizens from  BSE,                                                               
otherwise known as mad cow disease.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE noted that the last  case of mad cow disease occurred                                                               
in this  country and asked  how labeling country of  origin would                                                               
help us.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA replied that  she thought the U.S. should                                                               
label  its own  beef products  within the  country as  well. Some                                                               
states are turning in that direction for all products.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     So, if we  have problems within the U.S.,  I think that                                                                    
     we should  take care of  them and better  labeling will                                                                    
     help us do that. As  for other countries, it helps also                                                                    
     in terms of tracking.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
She noted  that recently  some tainted beef  came in  from Canada                                                               
and tracking  that was in  place helped  that instance. A  lot of                                                               
vegetables  are being  labeled  and she  thought  that NAFTA  had                                                               
caused that. This would be similar to that.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE  asked if she  had feedback from the  retail industry                                                               
as to the fiscal impact this might create for them.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  said that  is  a  federal act  and  she                                                               
hadn't had any direct contact  with it. Her experience was mostly                                                               
with the FDA. She said there is  a two-year delay now and that is                                                               
why she is asking to speed it up.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. AURORA  HAUKE, staff to  Representative Kerttula,  added that                                                               
the  National  Farmers  Union   (167  agricultural  and  consumer                                                               
groups) strongly supported country  of origin labeling although a                                                               
little resistance is coming from the retailers.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BUNDE asked  if the  Hangar  On The  Wharf restaurant  was                                                               
going to  have to use country  of origin labeling for  its ground                                                               
meat.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA replied  this bill  doesn't go  that far                                                               
and that the FDA requires the  person selling the product to have                                                               
the labeling already on it.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY STEVENS  moved to pass CSHJR  35(L&C) from committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations   and  attached  fiscal  notes.                                                               
Senators  Bettye Davis,  Gary Stevens,  Hollis  French and  Chair                                                               
Bunde voted yea; and CSHJR 35(L&C) moved from committee.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Bunde adjourned the meeting at 2:00 p.m.                                                                                  

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