As you may know, a few small but powerful fringe interest groups are seeking to sneak the infamous and consistently rejected “King Amendment” into the Farm Bill.
In the 118th Congress it’s called the “Exposing Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act”, but it poses the same grave risks to our states’ rights, public health, local communities, and to food safety.
This insidious bill seeks to curb states’ power to set individual standards or conditions on agricultural products in interstate commerce when these standards deviate from federal law or other states’ mandates. The potential ramifications of the EATS Act are broad, sweeping, and deeply concerning. This law also wrests power from our rural communities, denying them the right to establish higher standards that reflect their unique agricultural heritage and community values.
In a shocking affront to our duty as protectors of our constituents, passage of the EATS Act would even threaten to dismantle stringent state regulations that shield infants from harmful substances in baby food. These state laws represent a vital safety net for parents across America, from our rural heartlands to bustling urban centers.
Other critical state laws under threat should the EATS Act be incorporated into the Farm Bill include:
- Child Labor Laws: Present in numerous states, these enforce strict rules on employing minors in agriculture, safeguarding their well-being and averting exploitation.
- Domestic Violence Protections: One state’s law allows lease dissolution without penalty for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking – an essential provision for many agricultural workers living on the property where they work.
- Food Safety Laws: Laws like those restricting the sale or distribution of raw milk products, potential carriers of harmful bacteria.
- School Safety Laws: Regulations limiting the production, sale, or use of certain pesticides in proximity to schools, protecting our children from harmful exposure.
- Invasive Species Laws: These ensure vigilant enforcement against invasive pests that jeopardize local agriculture and ecosystems.
- Pet Food Regulations: Restrictions on the sale of pet food containing diseased animals or unwholesome substances.
- Transparency and Governance Laws: Rules that forbid the deletion of public records, ensuring transparency and accountability in our food system.
Every one of the 1,000 laws jeopardized by the EATS Act reflects a state or local government’s choice to uphold standards and values embodying the needs and desires of their constituents.
The EATS Act, under the deceptive cloak of trade fairness, threatens our children’s health, compromises food safety, undermines states’ rights, and subverts economic justice in the agricultural industry. This bill wrenches power from our rural communities—those who understand their lands and needs better than any federal bureaucrat—and systematically dismantles protections. The result is an unwarranted risk to our communities and an erosion of the bedrock principle of states’ rights.
The EATS Act is a rebranded version of the King Amendment—a failed proposal from 2013 and 2018 that faced staunch opposition and was rightfully defeated. Today, under a new name, this resurrected bill aims to strip states and localities of their regulatory authority, all in the name of agricultural trade regulation.