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H.R. 4167 (109th): National Uniformity for Food Act of 2005

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Mar 8, 2006.

National Uniformity for Food Act of 2005 - (Sec. 2) Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to prohibit any state or political subdivision from establishing or continuing in effect for any food in interstate commerce: (1) any requirement that is not identical to specified FFDCA provisions (that does not have substantially the same language and the differences would result in the imposition of materially different requirements), including those related to adulterated foods, unsafe food additives, and new animal drugs; or (2) any notification requirement that provides for a warning concerning the food's safety that is not identical to FFDCA provisions. Allows: (1) a state or political subdivision to enforce a state law that contains a requirement that is identical to a requirement in such FFDCA provisions unless the Secretary of Health and Human Services has considered a proposal for, and published a determination not to promulgate, a regulation relating to such requirement; and (2) current state notification or food safety requirements to continue for 180 days, during which such state may petition for an exemption or a new national standard.

Allows a state to petition for an exemption or to establish a national standard regarding any requirement under FFDCA or the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act relating to food regulation. Allows the Secretary of Health and Human Service to provide such an exemption if the requirement: (1) protects an important public interest that would otherwise be unprotected; (2) would not cause any food to be in violation of any federal law; and (3) would not unduly burden interstate commerce. Requires the Secretary to expedite consideration of such a petition that involves a notification requirement to warn of cancer or reproductive or birth defects or to provide information that will allow parents or guardians to understand, monitor, or limit a child's exposure to cancer-causing agents or reproductive or developmental toxins.

Allows a state to establish a requirement that would otherwise violate FFDCA provisions relating to national uniform nutrition labeling or this Act if the requirement is needed to address an imminent hazard to health that is likely to result in serious adverse health consequences and if other requirements are met. Declares that this Act does not preempt state and local laws relating to freshness dating, open date labeling, grade labeling, a state inspection stamp, religious dietary labeling, organic or natural designation, returnable bottle labeling, unit pricing, a statement of geographic origin, dietary supplements, or a consumer advisory relating to food sanitation imposed on a food establishment or recommended by the Secretary. (Sec. 3) Provides that this Act only takes effect if the Secretary certifies to Congress that its implementation will pose no additional risk to the public health or safety from terrorists attacks relating to the food supply. (Sec. 4) Excludes from the scope of this Act any state law, regulation, proposition, or other action that establishes a notification requirement regarding the presence or potential effects of mercury in fish and shellfish.