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[Updated Below]

People need to get that through their thick heads.

Currently there is a bill in the ag committee in the Missouri House of Representatives that would mandate truth in labeling of dairy products that needs to be passed, business protestations aside.  The bill was introduced by Rogersville Republican Mike Cunningham, and there was a committee meeting this morning.  I happened to call his office to ask how the hearing went, just as he was walking in the office, and he talked to me himself and told me that it went pretty well, and I could hear him smile over the phone when he told me that he talked for about 45 minutes and didn’t leave a lot of time for opposition, by the dairy industry.

I dunno about you, but I  can’t, for the life of me, figure out why the modest, common sense proposals in MO HB 2283 are even being protested.

Here are the main points of the bill:

HB 2283 — Dairy Product Labeling

Sponsor:  Cunningham (145)

This bill specifies that a dairy product, except those produced

through organic farming, is misbranded if:

(1)  A compositional claim cannot be confirmed through laboratory

analysis;

(2)  A compositional claim is supported solely by sworn

statements, affidavits, or testimonials;

(3)  The label contains false or misleading statements,

production claims, or production composition; or

(4)  A statement indicates the absence of a compound not

permitted by the United States Food and Drug Administration but

it is found present in the product.

There is simply nothing there that would be onerous or represent an undue burden.  Anyone put out of business by this piece of legislation that would simply demand truth in labeling of some of the foodstuffs we put in our bodies to sustain our very lives is most likely either a lousy businessman, or they are dishonest and shouldn’t be in business anyway.

I would like to encourage encourage all Missouri voters to contact their state Representative, regardless of party, and encourage him or her to support this common sense piece of legislation.

Update

Okay – I suspend support for the time being.  I consulted with one of the regular commenters at my home blog.  The fellow happens to be a pretty high-powered attorney here in KC,  and he raised questions I would like answers to before I decide to support or oppose.  

Oddly enough, what swayed me wasn’t the argument made in comments, it was science.  

(1)  A compositional claim cannot be confirmed through laboratory

analysis;

By what parameters? Define – compositional – 1% .01% .001%?

(3)  The label contains false or misleading statements,

production claims, or production composition; or

define False define misleading – at least either false statements OR misleading statements are covered

But the final point is the one that made me slap myself in the forehead:  

(4)  A statement indicates the absence of a compound not

permitted by the United States Food and Drug Administration but

it is found present in the product.

Does “compound” as a very explicit term exclude elements? Elements are not “compounds.” So, Arsenic – an element – would not be covered…. neither would Antimony, Bismuth, Lead, Mercury, Sulphur, Strontium, etc. and amounts of Calcium, Phosphorous, Potassium, and Sodium in amounts greater than that meeting “organic” standards (if they exist).

Salt – NaCl is an ionic compound – that breaks into elemental form in water – so Sodium content of cheese could go off scale and not violate this bill.

Radioactive Strontium is an element that is quite rare – unless you have a reactor meltdown. Our bodies use Strontium in place of Calcium.

Strontium 90 has a half life of ~ 29 years. Chernobyl blew on April 26, 1986 – today is a mere 21 years, 11 months and 6 days later.

This bill assigns the duty to designate bad things to the federal government. Nobody wrote any acceptable levels of Strontium into the Code of Federal Regs prior to the contamination from Chernobyl. A hell of a lot of cheese (across all of Europe) had very high levels of Strontium.

Without reading the whole bill and checking to see what existing statutes are incorporated by reference or definition – I can’t say is this is a good bill. Generally, things that claim to define “organic” are problematic.

Here is the link to that comment thread.