SENATE COMMITTEE ON

AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES

 

April 30, 2003                                                                                                  Hearing Room HR B

8:00 AM                                                                                                                       Tapes 70 - 72

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:         Sen. Frank Shields, Chair

Sen. Roger Beyer, Vice-Chair

Sen. Tony Corcoran

Sen. Bill Fisher

 

STAFF PRESENT:                 Judith Callens, Committee Administrator

Megan Jensen, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURE/ISSUES HEARD:           SB 576 Work Session

HB 2258 Public Hearing and Work Session

HB 2957A Public Hearing

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE 70, A

005

Chair Shields

Calls the meeting to order at 8:10 a.m. Opens work session on SB 576.

SB 576 – WORK SESSION

010

Judith Callens

Committee Administrator. Provides overview of SB 576.

015

Sen. Beyer

MOTION:  Moves SB 576 to the floor with a DO PASS recommendation.

020

 

VOTE:  3-0

EXCUSED:  1 - Sen. Fisher

 

Chair Shields

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

SEN. BEYER will lead discussion on the floor.

Closes work session on SB 576

HB 2258 -- PUBLIC HEARING

030

Judith Callens

Committee Administrator. Provides overview of HB 2258.

040

Rod Harder

Oregon Trappers Association, Oregon United Houndsmen Association. States support for HB 2258.

047

Al Elkins

Oregon Hunters Association. States support for HB 2258.

050

Larry Cooper

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). Provides testimony in support of HB 2258 (EXHIBIT A).

077

Chair Shields

Asks if there are any problems in HB 2258.

080

Cooper

Replies that there are no apparent problems with HB 2258.

083

Katie Fast

Oregon Cattlemen Association. States support for HB 2258.

092

Greg Addington

Oregon Farm Bureau. States support for HB 2258.

099

Robert Botta

National Foundation for Wildlife. Provides testimony in support of HB 2258 (EXHIBIT B). Explains that the Access and Habitat Board increases hunter opportunities by creating access to hunting lands and should be supported with surcharges on hunting licenses. Asks the committee to direct the Access and Habitat Board to make funding available to do a detailed study to identify those public lands to which general public access is denied.

130

Sen. Beyer

Comments that budget issues should be discussed with ODFW and Ways and Means.

138

Cooper

Explains that ODFW will work with Botta to address budget concerns.

150

Chair Shields

Closes public hearing and opens work session on HB 2258.

HB 2258 – WORK  SESSION

160

Sen. Beyer

Notes a potential personal conflict with the bill.

165

Sen. Beyer

MOTION:  Moves HB 2258 to the floor with a DO PASS recommendation.

170

 

VOTE:  3-0

EXCUSED:  1 - Sen. Fisher

 

Chair Shields

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

SEN. BEYER will lead discussion on the floor.

Closes work session on HB 2258 and opens public hearing on HB 2957A.

HB 2957A – PUBLIC HEARING

185

Judith Callens

Provides overview of HB 2957A and -A2 (EXHIBIT C), -A3 (EXHIBIT D) and -A4 (EXHIBIT E) amendments.

230

Joe Gilliam

Oregon Grocery Association (OGA). Provides testimony in support of HB 2957A (EXHIBIT F). Explains that HB 2957A:

  • Protects consumers by supporting labeling requirements approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and prohibiting local labeling laws that bypass their approval process
  • Protects Oregon businesses and their employees by prohibiting local labeling requirements that may make their products unmarketable to other jurisdictions or states
  • Protects consumer choice by prohibiting local labeling requirements that might otherwise make it financially impossible to offer national food products
  • Does not prohibit the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) from imposing Oregon-only labeling standards when the federal government has not addressed a given issue
  • Does not prevent statewide initiatives that circumvent the FDA and USDA standards

335

Robert Miller

Trailblazer Food Products. Provides testimony in support of HB 2957A (EXHIBIT G). Believes that food processor businesses will be unable to compete in the global marketplace if statewide or locals labeling laws are passed.

391

Sen. Corcoran

Asks if any products used by Trailblazer Foods are genetically modified.

397

Miller

Explains that any product containing corn syrup cannot be considered free of genetically modified organisms (GMO), which means that anything Trailblazer Foods makes with corn syrup cannot be certified GMO-free.

407

Gilliam

Explains that a federal mandate to label GMO food would be acceptable.

TAPE 71, A

010

Rep. Floyd Prozanski

District 8 State Representative. Provides testimony in opposition HB 2957A. Explains that HB 2957A would limit information that consumers have a right to know.

052

Sen. Corcoran

Inquires how a national product could be marketed on a local level if there were different labeling rules among local jurisdictions.

068

Rep. Prozanski

Believes the bill is very broad and limits the state from instituting any requirements more informative than federal requirements. Suggest the removal of subsection 2.

081

Sen. Corcoran

Clarifies that Rep. Prozanski suggests keeping subsection 1 and deleting subsection 2.

085

Rep. Prozanski

Explains that the state should not be prohibited from having labeling  requirement that are stricter and provide more information than federal labeling laws.

090

Rick North

Washington County. Provides testimony in opposition to HB 2957A (EXHIBIT H). Discusses the use of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) in cows. Believes food labeling is meant to inform and protect the consumer and if federal labeling standards are not adequate, the state should have the right to enforce their own labeling standards. Talks about research on genetically modified foods.

225

Chair Shields

Asks about his comment that no cities have implemented food labeling laws and no cities are considering it. Wonders if there are groups that are considering initiatives at a local level.

230

North

Responds that he has never heard of any group attempting to initiate food labeling laws at the local level. Discusses state action on passing food labeling laws across the nation

272

Chair Shields

Asks if cancer-causing contaminants are required to be listed food  products in California.

283

North

Affirms.

285

Chair Shields

Asks about labeling milk with rBGH.

292

North

Responds that he is unsure how many states label milk with rBGH.

304

Sen. Beyer

Asks why the issue concerns him if there are no localities planning to institute food labeling laws.

315

North

Explains his concern with HB 2957A is that states cannot go further than the federal government with stringent food labeling laws. Believes there is a lack of clarity on whether states can make decisions in areas where the FDA is deficient..

394

Kate Miller

Multnomah County. Provides testimony in opposition to HB 2957A (EXHIBIT I). Believes that federal food labeling should inform and protect consumers but often falls short of that goal. Provides an example of changing the label for “irradiated” food products to “pasteurized” food products..

TAPE  70, B

005

Miller

Continues testimony in opposition to HB 2957A.

056

Dirk Davis

Unified Western Grocers. Provides testimony in support of HB 2957A. Discussion problems relating to the distribution of food products with different labeling requirements.

092

Chair Shields

Asks about rBGH-free milk producers in Oregon.

102

Davis

States rBGH-free milk brands are carried by many grocery stores.

128

Chair Shields

Asks if state rBGH-free milk labeling requirements are different from federal laws.

130

Davis

Explains that rBGH-free milk can be distributed in Oregon but there may be problems exporting the milk outside of Oregon.

133

Steve Loendorf

Reser Fine Foods. Provides testimony in support of HB 2957A. Discusses labeling regulations for Reser food products and the financial issues surround food labeling.

235

Sen. Beyer

Asks if there is anything to prohibit a company from putting additional information on their food labels by choice.

244

Loendorf

Responds that there are a several items that cannot be put on a food label and elaborates.

249

Chair Shields

Asks if “irradiated” can still be used rather than “pasteurized” on food labels.

261

Sen. Beyer

Asks if GMO labeling is required on food product labels.

265

Loendorf

Says that the producer can choose to put “GMO-free” on food products.

280

Callens

Clarifies the effective dates contained in the –A2 and –A3 amendments.

310

Laurie Heilman

First Alternative Cooperative. Provides testimony in opposition to HB 2957A. States that consumers of First Alternative Cooperative desire information about food products, including food production methods, effects on the environment, and GMO foods.

TAPE 71, B

005

Heilman

Continues testimony in opposition to HB 2957A. Talks about the history of attempting to require better labeling practices at the state and federal level.

045

Chair Shields

Asks if GMO labeling is required in other countries.

046

Heilman

Affirms.

050

Chair Shields

Inquires why other countries were able to fight successfully for GMO required labeling.

052

Heilman

Believes consumer preferences and government sympathy to consumers played a large role.

055

Sen. Beyer

Asks for more clarification about how the bill affects First Alternative Cooperative.

060

Heilman

Responds that First Alternative Cooperative does not have access to the information that consumers want on GMO foods.

064

Sen. Beyer

States that First Alternative Cooperative can choose to sell only those products for which GMO information can be obtained.

073

Chair Shields

Asks if there are companies that are so big they can survive without special marketing to the small number of people who want GMO-free foods.

086

Heilman

Affirms and provides an example of Kraft foods being able to market GMO-free foods for other countries.

105

Sen. Beyer

Asks if there are alternative choices for GMO-free food products.

110

Heilman

Responds that there are some alternatives if consumers are aware of what they are consuming, but that consumers have to go out of their way to get information about food products.

135

Mel Bankoff

Emerald Valley Kitchen. Provides testimony in opposition to HB 2957A (EXHIBIT J). Expresses concern that HB 2957 threatens state freedom to exercise both initiative and legislative processes in regard to food labeling.

235

Bankoff

Continues testimony in opposition to HB 2957A.

275

Gary Conkling

Oregon Winegrowers Association. Provides testimony on HB 2957A (EXHIBIT K). States he has a neutral stance on HB 2957A but expresses concern for labeling requirements on wine and requests the

–A4 amendment be passed.

320

Ken Yates

Northwest Food Processors Association. Provides testimony in support of HB 2957A. States HB 2957A ensures uniform food labeling requirements throughout Oregon. Believes consistent, scientifically sounds and enforceable laws that maintain an equitable playing field for processors and reliable information for consumers is sound public policy.

370

Sen. Corcoran

Takes issue with the assertion that local governments do not have the financial or technical resources to promulgate rational food labeling rules and talks about how Oregon organic labeling requirements eventually became federal law.

404

Yates

Explains that the intention of his comment was that the state does not have the financial resources in this time of budget shortfalls.

TAPE 72, A

005

Jean Wilkinson

Oregon Farm Bureau. Provides testimony in support of HB 2957A Comments on the costs associated with food labeling laws. States that the issue should be dealt with on a federal basis instead of a local basis.

050

Sen. Beyer

Asks for clarification from ODA on subsection 2 of section 1 in HB 2957A.

050

Ron McKay

ODA Food Safety Division. States ODA finds subsection 2 acceptable.

061

Sen. Corcoran

Inquires if ODA accepts the language that places a restriction on the state government and ODA labeling abilities.

063

McKay

Responds that the state can put regulations into effect if federal regulations do not exist.

074

Chair Shields

Inquires about other states that are more strict with food labeling regulations.

081

McKay

Responds that he is unaware of other state policies. States that Oregon has had regulations that have gone beyond federal regulations in the past when no federal regulations were in place.

086

Chair Shields

Asks about the legal interpretation of the phrase “if a food is subject to a federal requirement.”

091

McKay

Responds he is unsure of the legal intent of the phrase and elaborates.

100

Sen. Corcoran

Inquires if HB 2957A had been in effect at the time the Oregon organic food law was passed, whether the organic food law could not have been passed.

104

McKay

Explains that if the USDA National Organic Program was not in place at the time, Oregon could have adopted its own organic food laws.

110

Maureen Kirk

Oregon State Public Research Interest Group. Provides testimony in opposition to HB 2957A (EXHIBIT M). Believes the state should preserve its authority to supplement federal regulation and protect Oregon consumers.

155

Chair Shields

Closes public hearing on HB 2957A and adjourns meeting at 10:15 a.m.

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

A – HB 2258, written testimony, Larry Cooper, 2 pp.

B – HB 2258, written testimony, Robert Botta, 1 p.

C – HB 2957A, HB 2957-A2 amendments dated 4/21/03, staff, 1 p.

D – HB 2957A, HB 2957-A3 amendments dated 4/25/03, staff, 1 p.

E – HB 2957A, HB 2957-A4 amendments dated 4/29/03, staff, 1 p.

F – HB 2957A, written testimony, Joe Gilliam, 2 pp.

G – HB 2957A, written testimony, Robert Miller, 2 pp.

H – HB 2957A, written testimony, Rick North, 3 pp.

I– HB 2957A, written testimony, Kate Miller, 2 pp.

J – HB 2957A, written testimony, Mel Bankoff, 1 p.

K – HB 2957A, written testimony, Gary Conkling, 2 pp.

L – HB 2957A, written testimony, Ken Yates, 2 pp.           

M – HB 2957A, written testimony, Maureen Kirk, 2 pp.

N – HB 2957A, written testimony, Lynn Coody, 2 pp.