National Consumers League

Dethrone the King Amendment


By Teresa Green, Linda Golodner Food Safety & Nutrition Fellow Over the past two months, animal welfare groups have expressed outrage over the King Amendment to the Farm Bill. Republican Representative Steve King of Iowa put forward the proposal in response to a California law that would only permit the sale of eggs from cage-free hens by 2015.

Last year, King proposed a Farm Bill amendment, which would have exempted out-of-state producers from having to meet the standards of the state in which their products sell. Now, seeing an opportunity for passage, Rep. King has introduced his bill as an amendment to the Farm Bill yet again. However, animal welfare groups are not the only ones with the right to be enraged; everyday-consumers have a stake in this, too. The provision, written in loose and ambiguous language, could ultimately lead to overturning a wide array of state laws enacted to promote food safety and ensure fair labor standards. In this aggressive assault on states’ abilities to protect and promote the health and safety of their citizens, the amendment threatens the very laws that citizens helped to enact. As a result, child labor laws might go out the window. Rules related to additives in alcohol production, rules on raw milk and arsenic in poultry-feed are also under threat. NCL has been working hard with a multi-stakeholder coalition to ensure this amendment does not make its way into the final Farm Bill.  But we need your help, too. We call on you to contact your representative and two Senators, encouraging them to reject the King Amendment and stand up for consumer protection.