Over at Reason.com, Balyen Linnekin has a post where he asked several "experts" to indicate what they thought were the
most interesting food-policy development so far this year—for better or worse—and where they see us heading for the rest of the year.
He asked me to contribute, and I tried to think of a topic that would likely be ignored by others and yet might have non-trivial effects on consumers and agricultural producers. Here was what I had to say:
After California voters passed an initiative in 2008 banning certain livestock production practices, notably battery cages in egg production, the California legislature, fearful that its poultry producers would now be at a competitive disadvantage, passed a law requiring imported eggs to meet the same standard. Earlier this year, the Missouri attorney general (now joined by five other states) filed a federal lawsuit challenging the California law. Proponents of California's law point to state's rights to set their own minimum quality standards. Opponents posit that the law violates the federal interstate Commerce Clause and they argue that farmers and ranchers should be free to sell to consumers in any state, presuming they can find willing buyers. The outcome could have significant implications for states’ abilities to set their own food safety/quality standards and for the free trade of agricultural products across state lines.
Other commentators mentioned things like the new nutritional labeling standards, the implementation of the food safety modernization act, raw milk and feral hogs, and sriracha. It seems we all ignored the new farm bill.
I liked this comment on my statement:
So, California is arguing for states' rights (What, are they racist?!), and their opponents are citing the interstate Commerce Clause, hoping that the federal courts will use it to protect an individual's right to buy or sell what they want.
Did I wake up in Bizzaro World this morning?