Iowa: Bill Requiring Sale of Conventional Eggs Goes to Governor

William Petroski reported earlier this week at The Des Moines Register Online that, “The Iowa Senate gave final passage Monday to a controversial bill requiring Iowa grocers in a supplemental food program to offer conventional eggs if they sell eggs from chickens housed in a cage-free, free-range or enriched colony cage environment.

House File 2408 was approved 32-17, sending it to Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds for her consideration. It was approved in the House last week on an 81-17 vote.

“Sen. Herman Quirmbach, D-Ames, opposed the bill, complaining that it’s clearly contrary to free enterprise, anti-regulation policies espoused by Republicans. ‘This is really direct interference in the marketplace,’ he said.”

The Register article stated that, “But Sen. Dan Zumbach, R-Ryan, who farms in northeast Iowa, lauded the legislation for assuring that a low-cost choice for protein is available when many low-income Iowans head to the grocery store. Free-range or cage-free eggs are typically more expensive than conventional eggs from large farming operations.

“‘This bill is a home-run, game-winning bill,’ Zumbach remarked.

The legislation would apply to grocers participating as a vendors in the special supplemental food program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as WIC. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in cooperation with state officials, and the bill would allow state officials to seek a federal waiver if necessary.”

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