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"The House Agriculture Committee’s approval late Wednesday of an amendment that would make it illegal for states to ban the sale of foods produced in other states because that state considers the production standards unacceptable shows the need for a national standard on the cages of egg-laying hens, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said today. The House Agriculture Committee approved the amendment sponsored by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, after vigorous debate. The amendment is aimed at stopping California from implementing a law that would not allow the sale of eggs produced from hens in cages that are smaller than the ones California requires under an initiative passed in the state. King said that Iowa is the largest egg-producing state and that its producers would not be allowed to sell in the California market, unless the Iowans change their production system. Michigan is also a big egg producer, and Stabenow, worried about jobs in her state, has backed an amendment sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and supported by the United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States that would order the Agriculture Department to develop a national standard along the lines of an agreement between UEP and HSUS. Stabenow considered putting that amendment in the farm bill, but did not have enough support on the committee to include it...“What happened last night in the debate is why we need a national standard,” Stabenow said. She did not comment directly on the King amendment. Noting that other ag groups “think it creates a slippery slope,” Stabenow said she disagrees and sees it as something the industry is asking for."

Posted May 16th, 2013