30 Senators Join House Members in Opposing EATS Act in Farm Bill

Aug. 29, 2023
The Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression Act would supersede California’s Proposition 12 and other states’ regulation of agriculture, especially for animal welfare.

Today (Aug. 29), 30 U.S. Senators announced their opposition to including the “Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression” (EATS) Act (S.2019) or any similar legislation in the 2023 Farm Bill. This comes a week after 172 members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a similar letter addressed to House Agriculture Committee leaders.

“Demand from consumers, food companies, and the farming community has propelled 15 states to enact public health, food safety, and humane standards for the in-state production and sale of products from egg-laying chickens, veal calves, and mother pigs,” said the letter to Senate Agriculture Committee leadership.

“The EATS Act was introduced with the primary goal of undermining these standards – particularly California’s Proposition 12, in response to the Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding that law. Yet it is clear that the impacts of the EATS Act would be far broader, impacting food safety, farm worker protections, and environmental standards while ignoring the will of voters and infringing on states’ rights.”

The letter was overwhelmingly signed by Democratic and Independent senators, with Susan Collins being the lone Republican. The earlier House letter was described as bipartisan.

Passed with overwhelming voter support in 2018, California’s Proposition 12 sets minimum standards for the confinement of hogs raised for pork. It applies to all pork sold in the state, from any source, within or outside California.

Opponents say it’s an intrusion on interstate commerce. Proponents argue it’s within the regulatory rights of states. Earlier this month, the attorneys general for 16 states wrote to U.S. congressional leaders urging passage of the EATS Act, which would supersede Prop 12. And now there’s talk of including it in the developing Farm Bill, with the current one expiring at the end of September.

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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