Republicans on the U.S. House Ag Committee have approved their preferred version of the next Farm Bill. It includes a proposal from Iowa Congressman Steve King that attempts to stop state-level regulations on food grown or raised in another state.
“For example, California’s cage-size regulations (mean) we have inspectors from California that are now traveling around Iowa with their tape measurers and measuring the cage sizes of our laying hens in Iowa,” King said during House Ag Committee deliberations. “We have states that have prohibited gestation crates…They prohibit the importation of, into their state, of meat that is produced in a fashion that they disapprove.”
King said states have every right to impose regulations on how farmers within their borders may farm, but he said having officials in one state dictate farming regulations in another state is wrong.
“That goes on with stalls for veal calves and the prohibition to feeding ducks and geese for foie gras liver,” King said. “And it’s getting worse.”
King indicated the Farm Bill could help clarify that congress has the sole authority to regulate inter-state commerce, including agricultural commodities and food products.
“Pre-empt some really bad things that are coming down the pike,” King told his colleagues on the House Ag Committee. “…It’ll be worse if we don’t do this now.”
King, in a news release, said without action, Iowa’s farmers will be “held hostage to the demands of California’s vegan lobby” and regulations adopted by California’s state government. King authored a similar proposal for the last Farm Bill, but it was not included in the final version.
Critics of King’s proposal say it will “preempt states’ ability to enact laws that protect public health, the environment, and consumers.” Others argue laws in Arizona, California and Minnesota that prohibit the false advertising of foods as kosher could be jeopardized.