On July 14, 2006, members of the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) met with their U.S. representatives and senators and staff in Washington, D.C. to discuss important bottled water industry issues. The meetings were held in conjunction with the Spring/Summer 2006 IBWA Board of Directors and Committee meetings held June 12 to 15, 2006 in Washington, DC. IBWA members and staff held a total of 53 meetings with 23 Senate offices and 30 House offices.
IBWA members urged senators to support the National Uniformity for Food Act (S. 3128), which would amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) “to prohibit any state or political subdivision from establishing or continuing in effect any requirement for any food in interstate commerce that is not identical to specified FDCA provisions.”
IBWA’s Hill visits coincided with other key food industry efforts, as members of the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), and the National Grocers Association (NGA) and other partners in the Food Industry Coalition for National Uniformity (of which IBWA is a member) also asked their senators to co-sponsor the legislation. Several lawmakers said they would seriously consider the bill.
As a direct result of IBWA’s Hill visits, Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Judd Gregg (R-NH), signed on as co-sponsors to the bill.
In addition, IBWA members pressed the case for restoration of proposed Fiscal Year 2007 (FY07) funding cuts for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), which regulates the bottled water industry as a packaged food product. IBWA members visited with nine members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and three members of the House Appropriations Committee, both of which have jurisdiction over FDA funding.
With increased focus on food defense and avian flu preparedness, IBWA wants to assure that funding is maintained for food safety and nutrition. IBWA is also a leader in the food defense and emergency response preparation.
The administration’s FY07 budget proposal represents the largest one-year reduction in CFSAN funding in history. During the Capitol Hill visits, IBWA members urged their lawmakers to ensure adequate funding for the center to maintain regulations to protect the nation’s food supply. The majority of lawmakers understood the importance of the issue and indicated that they would encourage adequate FY07 CFSAN funding.
IBWA member visits could not have been more timely. The Senate is expected to consider FDA appropriations in the coming weeks, and the National Uniformity for Food Act could be the subject of a hearing as early as July 2007.