The Business Council supports this legislation that amends the Agriculture and Markets Law to clarify that jurisdiction governing the labeling of food produced, transported or sold in New York State is held solely by the state, thereby pre-empting local legislation or regulation governing food labeling. Any such local laws would be pre-empted upon adoption of this bill.
The Business Council has long-standing concerns with state or local-level mandates being applied to products made and distributed for regional or national markets, whether those mandates are on product contents, packaging restrictions, product labeling or other features.
Importantly, the focus of this legislation is not to impose new state-level product requirements, but to avoid an even more onerous patchwork of municipal-level requirements. As stated in the bill memo, local governments have been considering a wide array of local laws relating to food labels and food portions. These types of sub-state mandates will impose unique challenges to manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, in terms of assuring compliance with new and different municipal-level mandates.
The inevitable outcome will be higher costs and fewer choices for consumers, and likely unintended business violations, as companies face the challenge of identifying new local standards.
While The Business Council believes that product labeling and product content standards are best set at the national level, this legislation provides useful safeguards against the creation of an unworkable array of local level food labeling standards in New York State.
For these reasons, The Business Council supports adoption of S.4933.