IATP | 15 November 2015
State’s leadership on healthy food and farming at risk under proposed trade deals
by Sharon Treat
Consumer interest in healthy eating, organic food and supporting sustainable local food systems has never been higher. Consumers want and expect that product labels will identify where their food is from, how it was produced and what is in it. With federal food labeling policies lagging far behind public expectations, state legislatures have taken the lead by enacting labeling laws to educate and protect consumers and support local food systems. Nearly 300 food labeling bills were introduced in state legislatures in 2014 and 2015, including nutrition disclosures, sugary drinks warnings, identification of local products such as olive oil and seafood, and disclosure of GMO ingredients.
U.S. negotiators are looking to wrap up two new massive trade agreements that could threaten the continued viability of these local food policy initiatives. If approved by Congress, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) among 12 nations would cover 40 percent of global economic activity. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would link the U.S. and European Union (EU). Unlike earlier trade agreements focused primarily on reducing tariffs to open up markets, these agreements are likely to include extensive provisions intended to reduce or eliminate state and federal regulations.
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