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Action Alert – Stop the EATS Act!

Imagine having to purchase food products produced under the weakest state laws in the nation.

Those are the standards the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act (S.2019 and H.R.4417) would establish.

The EATS Act is a dangerous piece of federal legislation that would prevent states from passing or enforcing their own existing safety laws on the preharvest production of agricultural products. An extensive Harvard University Law School analysis found it would wipe out over 1100 state agricultural laws designed to protect consumers from unsafe or subpar food products.

The weakest agricultural laws in the country would apply to any products sold across state lines. Some examples include Iowa’s prohibition of toxins in food packaging and its sanitation laws protecting livestock farmers against avian flu and African Swine Fever. Or Arizona’s requirement that milk or cream be free from insects, manure or other filth, and Florida’s prohibition of citrus fruit containing arsenic.

Keep in mind Iowa imports up to 90% of its food from other states.

Further, if no federal, state or local agricultural regulations exist for a particular product, then that level of non-regulation becomes the ceiling for every state, meaning that no state could create any regulation for that product.

Spurred on by opposition to California’s Proposition 12 banning the sale of pork from sows raised in gestation crates, the EATS Act is modelled after the King Amendment, an equally odious bill that failed during the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills. Congress could incorporate the EATS Act into the 2023 Farm Bill, or it could stand on its own.

The EATS Act must be stopped. Please take a moment to register your opposition to this harmful legislation by signing this petition of the Defeat EATS campaign. JFAN is one of over 80 members of the Defeat EATS coalition.

Designed to be far-reaching, the EATS Act would affect a wide scope of laws including but not limited to:

  • Agricultural, horticultural, viticultural products

  • Dairy products, livestock and poultry, bees, forest products, fish and shellfish

  • Any and all products raised or produced on farms and any processed or manufactured food product including baby food and pet food

  • Food quality and safety regulations and child labor laws

  • Puppy mills that are often treated as an agricultural crop

  • Wildlife protection, fire hazards, invasive pest protection

  • Narcotics laws, food procurement regulations, and food labeling

A partial list of laws across the country that the EATS Act would negate, compiled by the Humane Society of the United States, is found at the bottom of the page.

The bill contains an extensive provision that would enable citizens to sue state and local governments, including elected officials, for violating the EATS Act, potentially bankrupting state and local governments with ongoing litigation. Lawsuits could be filed up to 10 years after an action.

The EATS Act is also unconstitutional – the Tenth Amendment bars Congress from prohibiting states from passing public health and welfare laws where no federal law exists. But the EATS Act would usurp these states’ rights.

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The wording is vague and its ambiguity has the potential to lead to extensive constitutional litigation, disrupting markets and adversely affecting farmers’ livelihood, consumer prices, animal welfare, and food safety. Farmers who have already invested to increase the space in their confinement buildings in order to sell to California under Proposition 12 will unfairly lose the economic value of their investments.

There is broad, bipartisan opposition to the EATS Act, with 30 Senators and 172 US Representatives representing 35 states, 170 organizations and hundreds of individual farmers, veterinary professionals, faith leaders, legal experts, and editorial boards opposing the bill. That number continues to grow.

Iowa Rep. Ashley Hinson joined Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall to introduce the EATS Act. Every Iowa Congressional legislator – Rep. Zach Nunn, Rep. Randy Feenstra, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst – are co-sponsors of the bills. They are putting the financial well-being of a few multinational livestock corporations before the health, safety, and livelihoods of Iowans.

Learn more about the EATS Act here and here.

It is crucial we Defeat EATS. Widespread opposition stopped the King Amendment twice. We need to do that again with this harmful bill.

Write to your legislators and let them know their support of the EATS Act is unacceptable.

JFAN will continue to provide updates and Action Alerts on the Defeat EATS campaign.

A list of laws at risk if Congress passes the EATS Act, compiled by the Humane Society of the United States.

List of State Laws at Risk
Download DOCX • 83KB


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