Iowa House passes conventional egg bill

The Iowa House of Representatives approved a bill that would require grocery stores in the state that sell eggs and participate in federal food programs to make conventionally-produced eggs available.

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(Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo, Bigstock)
(Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo, Bigstock)

The Iowa House of Representatives approved a bill that would require grocery stores in the state that sell eggs and participate in federal food programs to make conventionally-produced eggs available.

The bill was approved by a 81-17 vote on February 26. Two House members were absent and did not vote. The piece of legislation has now been advanced to the Senate for consideration.

The initial draft of the bill was proposed by Iowa House Agriculture Chairman Lee Hein, R-Monticello. The bill, should it become law as written, would not mandate that grocery stores sell eggs, but it would have stipulations for those that do. The bill states: “A grocery store that is a vendor participating in a federal food program and offering specialty eggs for retail sale shall maintain a regular inventory of conventional eggs for retail sale. The inventory of conventional eggs shall be sufficient to meet the grocery stores’ regular customer demand for such eggs.”

Examples of the federal food programs include the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

The bill further defines conventional eggs as eggs laid by hens that were not raised under cage-free, free-range or enriched colony systems.

Failure to comply could also mean a fine of up to for each day that a sufficient inventory of conventional eggs is not available.

Exception for stores already not stocking conventional eggs

The bill does have a clause that makes exceptions for stores that are currently not selling conventional eggs. Stores that sell eggs but did not stock conventional eggs prior to January 1, 2018, would not be required to begin doing so.

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