Food exempt from California law

Three years of legislative battles paid off for food and cosmetics manufacturers on September 4 when the California legislature passed a bill exempting food, beverage and cosmetics products from the State's 1991 Rigid Plastic Packaging Container Law.

At the time the law was passed, these products had been granted a delayed compliance date of January 1, 1997, two years beyond the compliance date for other packaging. Lobbyists for the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA), the American Frozen Food Institute and the National Food Processors Association (NFPA) finally were able to convince legislators that food safety concerns and packaging requirements mandated by the FDA made it difficult to comply with the California law. Meanwhile, industry had made progress in reducing packaging waste. Dan Colgrove, GMA's manager, state affairs-Western Region, said passage of the law indicates "common-sense, science-based policymaking will be favored in the legislative process." This exemption comes in the wake of the California Integrated Waste Management Board's inability to decide whether or not the mandatory 25% recycling rate for rigid plastic containers had been met. For food, beverage and cosmetics packagers, it now becomes irrelevant whether the 25% recycling rate was met.

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