Michigan House Bill 4814 would require all perishable food and human oral hygiene products coming into Michigan to have a label that stated the country of origin of the product. Not properly labeling such products would be a violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act. The bill defines perishable food items as those "with a significant risk of spoilage, loss of value, or loss of palatability within 90 days of packaging"; It defines oral hygiene products as mouthwash, toothpaste or "any other product intended for human oral hygiene". The bill would directly impact the Department of the Attorney General as well as local units of government as they would be responsible for taking legal action to violators of the proposed requirements
Although this issue has been discussed at the federal level, this bill deals with Michigan only.
As always there are arguments for and against this bill.
One opponent of this bill is the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA). In a briefing to the House Committee on Commerce, one member of the CHPA argued the following. This legislation is not necessary because the safety of over the counter medicines is already regulated by the federal government. Requiring a label or origin does not change the safety of the product. Additionally, they argue that if labeling requirements begin to change state by state, consumers will be confuse which may actually cause unintentional unsafe practices. Labeling would also be confusing because the bill would require all countries of origin to be listed. If a product or its parts were made in several different countries, they would all have to be listed, creating unnecessary confusion and complexity.
One argument in favor of this bill was made by Patricia Can Arnum on The Blog of Pharmaceutical Technology. She argues that this bill would be most effective or helpful to consumers of generic drugs or over the counter products. The labeling requirement or transparency would help consumers distinguish between brands of drugs and perhaps make their decision to purchase a certain product based on where it was made. Another blogger argued, "We are told where our stationary is made, where our notebooks, pens etc. are made. I want to know where any drugs I buy are made, and be able to judge for myself the changes they were made using good manufacturing practices or not. I would think this would help manufacturers who are trying to put a good safe product on the shelf."
Currently HB 4814 has been put on file by the Commerce Committee.
Sources: Legislature.mi.gov; Consumer Healthcare Products Association; The Blog of Pharmaceutical Technology