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Food Labeling: Toward National Uniformity
evolves. To provide total preemption that negates this extremely valuable function will be a disservice to the consumers of this nation. State legislators am not likely to fund state food programs in labeling unless they feel that the state has a voice and that the constituency's best interest will be served. It is critical that preemption not go beyond setting national standards and it is essential that them be a mechanism for states, with justifiable reason, to line a different standard. It is also crucial that the states be involved as full partners in developing any new standards (Crawford, 1991, p. 5).
Betty Harden of the Maryland Division of Food Control also identified enforcement as critical to any successful implementation of NLFA.
There were several differing opinions offered by the speakers and what seemed to me to be some worthwhile suggestions. However, the most important element in the implementation formula which I did not hear mentioned, is enforcement. If the Congressional intent of its charge to the Committee was to confine the determination of adequacy to assessing whether the Food and Drug Administration had promulgated the necessary regulations, then the real measure of adequate implementation will be overlooked and the determination will be superficial and based solely on a paper exercise. I would submit that fulfillment of the common goal of ensuring a safe and wholesome food supply demands enforcement and the degree of enforcement hinges on the availability of resources (Harden, 1991, p. 2).
The Association of Food and Drug Officials' (AFDO) statement to the Committee commented favorably on the recent enforcement actions taken by FDA but expressed concern about what it perceived as FDA's recent history of inaction. AFDO reflected the view held by the State and local regulatory officials who are its members:
The recent actions taken by the new FDA Commissioner David Kessler to crack down on deceptive food labeling have not gone unnoticed by AFDO. We commend the actions as both necessary and correct. However, as state officials we are also very much aware of the lack of enforcement and lack of ''adequacy'' of federal regulations which have resulted in the current state of affairs with respect to food labeling. It would be correct to assume that neither the states nor the state attorneys general would have become so involved in food labeling on a national level had it not been for the lack of federal enforcement. It would also be accurate to say that Congress would not have enacted the NLEA if the FDA had adequately enforced its regulations and had adopted new regulations as needed. The Office of Management and Budget further impeded the process by its inactivity with regard to newly proposed regulations (Sowards, 1991a, p. 4).
In the May 1991 Final Report of the Advisory Committee on the Food and Drug Administration, that Committees Food Subcommittee recognized the key role enforcement plays in the implementation of the law and a vigorous FDA is the most effective deterrent to the adoption of diverse and inconsistent State requirements. The Subcommittee also indicated that FDA