Destination: Day In D.C.

A review of top legislative issues that directly affect snack food manufacturers, face-to-face meetings with congressmen and senators, and an inaugural reception in SFA’s new offices will highlight the 2006 Day in D.C. Spring Summit, May 16-18, at the Sofitel Lafayette Square Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for SFA members to have a direct impact on the decision-making process in Washington,” says SFA President & CEO Jim McCarthy. “We are working hard to develop an agenda that I fully expect to include presentations by very senior members of our government.”
Three key legislative issues will be priorities for the Summit:
National Uniformity of Food Act — HR 4157. Under the current system, food regulation is composed of a variety of different and sometimes inconsistent requirements. For example, California’s Attorney General sued four snack companies last year for failure to post California’s Proposition 65 warning on their potato chip packages due to the presence of acrylamide in foods. Federal law does not require such labeling. This legislation amends the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act to create a uniform, national system that not only recognizes the role that state and local governments play in the regulation of food products, but also integrates them into a national system. The House passed the bill on March 8. The Senate still needs to take action.
Personal Responsibility for the Consumption of Food Act — HR 554. This bill would protect manufacturers, distributors and sellers of food products that comply with the applicable statutory or regulatory requirements from frivolous lawsuits brought by consumers who theorize that the food made them obese and, as a result, they have suffered health problems. This bill, also known as the “Cheeseburger Bill,” has passed in the House and is pending before the Senate. It is important to pass this bill in order to stop the frivolous suits that are being brought against restaurants and food companies alike.
Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for Snack Peanuts. While SFA worked to get a two-year delay in the requirement that snack peanuts be labeled as to their country of origin, it is important to continue to make the case with Congress and the administration that snack peanuts have been unfairly singled out for this form of labeling. The law requires that only unprocessed foods be listed under COOL. SFA continues to make the case that snack peanuts are processed in their shelling and roasting process. This labeling would be very costly to peanut snack products and mixtures that contain snack peanuts.
In addition, the agenda includes a luncheon at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters in Washington, D.C., a briefing at the White House, Congressional visits, an inaugural reception at SFA’s new offices in Arlington, Va., and Business Member and Associate Member Summits.
“It is a fact that the most effective lobbying efforts on our issues are when our members meet face to face with their members of Congress,” McCarthy says. “I hope that all SFA member company executives will consider joining us in Washington, D.C., for this important conference. It is a beautiful time of year in our nation’s capital, and we have an outstanding program planned. But most importantly, this is an opportunity to meet face-to-face with lawmakers and to tell them how important their decisions are to our companies and our industry.”
For more information, contact Liz Wells, SFA director of meetings, at 1-703-836-4500 ext. 202.