Legislature(1999 - 2000)

04/19/1999 03:23 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 110 - SALE/LABELING OF MEAT/MILK PRODUCTS                                                                                    
Number 0099                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the committee's first order of business                                                             
would be HB 110, "An Act relating to the sale, offer to sell, and                                                               
labeling of fluid milk, meat, and meat products."  The bill had                                                                 
been heard previously by the committee.  [Acronyms for the hormones                                                             
are those used by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).]                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS noted, as sponsor of HB 110, that there was                                                               
a proposed committee substitute (CS), Version H.                                                                                
Number 0142                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS made a motion to adopt Version H                                                                         
[1-LS0408\H, Bannister, 3/26/99] as the work draft.  There being no                                                             
objection, Version H was before the committee.                                                                                  
Number 0168                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS informed members that much in the original                                                                
bill was removed, including shelf life and other items that were                                                                
fairly controversial for certain people.  This bill provides dairy                                                              
farmers the ability to label their milk, cream or other byproducts                                                              
as being free from various hormones, and it provides for a penalty                                                              
for falsely labeling products in that regard.  He asked Mr. Fellman                                                             
to give a more in-depth explanation.                                                                                            
Number 0298                                                                                                                     
PETE FELLMAN, Researcher for Representative John Harris, Alaska                                                                 
State Legislature came forward.  He indicated that in preparing                                                                 
Version H, they looked at the 26 states with statutes dealing with                                                              
rbST [recombinant bovine somatotropin] and rBGH [recombinant bovine                                                             
growth hormone].  Noting that there are discussions of those                                                                    
synthetic hormones in the packets, Mr. Fellman explained that BGH                                                               
is a naturally occurring hormone.  The "r" in rBGH or rbST                                                                      
indicates manufacture in a laboratory to inject into cattle.                                                                    
MR. FELLMAN explained that Minnesota's and Wisconsin's laws                                                                     
accomplished what the sponsor was trying to do in the original                                                                  
bill.  Therefore, HB 110 is patterned after Wisconsin's law for the                                                             
affidavit, which can be filled out to cover any concerns of the                                                                 
milk processor, and after Minnesota's law for labeling that meets                                                               
the interim federal guideline.  Mr. Fellman indicated that although                                                             
no federal law discusses labeling for bST or rbST, there is a                                                                   
federal guideline, used by those 26 states to set forth regulations                                                             
for labeling a product as being free from rBGH or rbST, and used by                                                             
the sponsor for the clarifying changes to the bill.                                                                             
Number 0538                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI referred to page 4, which sets out the                                                                 
affidavit itself.  She noted that subparagraph (A) of the affidavit                                                             
says "that no animals on the above farm are currently being                                                                     
treated" and that no animals have received the treatments within                                                                
the past 30 days.  She asked why it doesn't specify cows, and                                                                   
whether other animals possibly would be treated with the hormone.                                                               
MR. FELLMAN replied that the BGH is bovine growth hormone, and                                                                  
"bovine" are just cattle.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked for confirmation that the hormone                                                                
couldn't be used in a goat to produce more milk, for example.                                                                   
MR. FELLMAN confirmed that, saying it is species-specific and                                                                   
therefore needs no further definition.                                                                                          
Number 0625                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE referred to the federal interim guidelines for                                                             
labeling.  He pointed out that "interim" suggests there are other                                                               
guidelines or regulations that have not yet been adopted.                                                                       
MR. FELLMAN said he had checked with the federal government, and                                                                
that is not so in this case.  They had set up the guidelines in                                                                 
1992, to his belief, and have just decided to let them stand as                                                                 
they are.                                                                                                                       
Number 0670                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS asked about enforcement.                                                                                 
MR. FELLMAN replied that the reason for the affidavit is so people                                                              
can be held accountable, to ensure honesty in labeling.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS referred to the zero fiscal notes from the                                                               
Department of Natural Resources' Division of Agriculture, and from                                                              
the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). He asked                                                                    
whether there is no charge for the enforcement.                                                                                 
MR. FELLMAN noted that it is a misdemeanor.  He suggested perhaps                                                               
enforcement for other labeling laws such as the "organic labeling                                                               
law" and the "Alaska-grown label" might also apply.                                                                             
Number 0763                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS said the Division of Agriculture doesn't                                                                  
anticipate any fiscal impact, but the Department of Law, if they                                                                
have to, would receive some fiscal impact in enforcing this through                                                             
its normal enforcement of misdemeanor violations.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS indicated the bill may have to go to the                                                                 
House Finance Standing Committee if there is a fiscal note.                                                                     
Number 0825                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked Mr. Fellman to explain what objections                                                              
might come from large dairies outside of Alaska, where the majority                                                             
of Alaska's milk comes from.                                                                                                    
MR. FELLMAN answered, "We haven't had any objections to the CS.                                                                 
Originally, the objections we were getting from out of state were                                                               
because of the 18-day labeling period and the high-temperature                                                                  
pasteurization issue, which we removed.  We haven't had any calls                                                               
that have objected to the labeling, as laid out by the interim                                                                  
guidelines.  The impact on the state will be such that we can                                                                   
create niche markets, because we can go in with our milk and say,                                                               
... 'We don't have hormones,' and that will increase the return to                                                              
the state, through the lending programs and things that we already                                                              
have invested in, in Alaskan agriculture."  Mr. Fellman said this                                                               
really is a consumer bill.  It gives the consumer a choice, and it                                                              
also creates a niche market for the small farmer.  He believed that                                                             
Alaska is the last stronghold of the family farm and needs the                                                                  
state's backing in order to have these niche markets.                                                                           
Number 0825                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked if that will affect Matanuska Maid.                                                                 
MR. FELLMAN said yes, it probably will.  As known from the audit                                                                
and information that the legislature has obtained from Matanuska                                                                
Maid, the dairy imports about 60 percent of its milk.  If it so                                                                 
choses, however, it could separate the milk from any dairyman who                                                               
decided to sign the affidavit, and label that particular milk as                                                                
being rbGH-free.                                                                                                                
Number 0975                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked if any affidavit process is required                                                             
to label meat or meat products as hormone-free.                                                                                 
MR. FELLMAN answered, "We do not have an affidavit process.  We got                                                             
very little response from the industry on that.  It wasn't an issue                                                             
that was taken up by the federal government, either."  He noted                                                                 
that the federal government is going to adopt some regulations on                                                               
organic meat, however.                                                                                                          
Number 1025                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked why they are making such a fuss over                                                             
milk as a great niche product because it is hormone-free,  yet                                                                  
there is no similar standard for meat.                                                                                          
MR. FELLMAN answered that it is a consumer issue.  The federal                                                                  
government felt there was a need for the interim guideline because                                                              
of consumer interest in whether there are synthetic hormones in                                                                 
their milk.  In contrast, he is not aware of any guidelines                                                                     
revolving around meat.  He added, "I know that there is an organic                                                              
meat market there, and that they're working on regulations on a                                                                 
federal standpoint, which we anticipate will be coming down pretty                                                              
Number 1122                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI expressed concern that anybody who                                                                     
artificially injects a hormone, whether for milk or a meat product,                                                             
will be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor if he or she doesn't comply                                                             
with these regulations.  However, the same accountability process                                                               
isn't set up for meat as for milk, and the reasons for the                                                                      
inconsistencies aren't entirely clear.  She said perhaps she is                                                                 
missing something, or perhaps the meat needs to be addressed in a                                                               
separate bill.                                                                                                                  
MR. FELLMAN responded that he understands the concern.  He himself                                                              
is not a beef-producer, and they had received no input on it.  It                                                               
may be appropriate to pull meat out of the bill, he added.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI suggested the alternative of having meat                                                               
subject to the same form of written affidavit as required for milk.                                                             
MR. FELLMAN said that is a good point.                                                                                          
Number 1210                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked why it is a Class A misdemeanor, rather                                                              
than a fine or violation.                                                                                                       
MR. FELLMAN indicated that was a suggestion from legislative                                                                    
counsel.  He hadn't investigated Minnesota's laws to see what they                                                              
do, although he could find out, he added.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE stated his understanding that a Class A                                                                    
misdemeanor can be pretty stiff.                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG suggested it puts this on the same plane as the                                                               
enforcement for occupational licensing.                                                                                         
Number 1265                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked how many other states have laws similar                                                             
to, or identical to, this.                                                                                                      
MR. FELLMAN replied that 26 other states have laws similar to this.                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked whether research shows the penalties to                                                             
be misdemeanors.                                                                                                                
MR. FELLMAN said he hadn't checked.                                                                                             
Number 1289                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted that testimony by Catherine Reardon of the                                                              
Division of Occupational Licensing had been that she couldn't                                                                   
recall, in her career, ever having been in an occupational                                                                      
licensing enforcement procedure where there were criminal charges                                                               
brought forward.                                                                                                                
Number 1321                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked whether the states with similar laws                                                             
combine the meat and the milk.                                                                                                  
MR. FELLMAN said no.                                                                                                            
Number 1329                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked what the "milk versus meat state count" is.                                                             
MR. FELLMAN said he doesn't know, and that he hadn't done much                                                                  
research about meat.  One producer in Delta Junction, who also                                                                  
raises elk, was interested in the [meat] label.  But as far as any                                                              
real response otherwise, Mr. Fellman said he hadn't had any.                                                                    
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked whether Mr. Fellman had communicated with                                                               
the state-owned "McKinley Meat Packing Plant" in Palmer.                                                                        
MR. FELLMAN said he had talked to the director of the Division of                                                               
Agriculture, but had no response or anything to point him in that                                                               
direction.  "Everything really focused on milk," he added.                                                                      
Number 1377                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA expressed her understanding that no group is                                                              
pushing for labeling of meat products.                                                                                          
MR. FELLMAN replied that a man in Kodiak who has beef cattle had                                                                
called, as had a man in Delta Junction; both thought it was a good                                                              
issue.  However, Mr. Fellman could find no model legislation or                                                                 
guidelines by other states where meat was targeted as being                                                                     
hormone-free.  He suggested this may be new ground.                                                                             
Number 1413                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA asked why meat is included in the bill, then.                                                             
MR. FELLMAN indicated the response was that it is reasonable that,                                                              
if there is a concern about hormones in milk, perhaps a niche                                                                   
market can be created for hormone-free meat.                                                                                    
Number 1457                                                                                                                     
JANICE ADAIR, Director, Division of Environmental Health,                                                                       
Department of Environmental Conservation, came forward.  She                                                                    
informed members that it is her agency that would enforce this                                                                  
labeling law.  She expressed appreciation for the changes that were                                                             
made.  The only thing she would want to check out with the FDA is                                                               
on page 3, she said, starting at the end of line 2, where it states                                                             
that milk products offered for wholesale or retail sale in the                                                                  
state may not be required to contain any further label information.                                                             
MS. ADAIR pointed out that the federal guideline actually gives                                                                 
other information that the FDA believes should be on the label,                                                                 
although she isn't sure how tightly they hold to that.  The                                                                     
inference is that the label shouldn't be misleading, she told                                                                   
members, and that it should be in proper context to avoid any                                                                   
misleading implication.  Proper context could be achieved in a                                                                  
number of ways.  For example, the statement, "From cows not treated                                                             
with rbST," could be accompanied by the statement, "No significant                                                              
difference has been shown between milk derived from rbST-treated                                                                
and non-rbST-treated cows."  Ms. Adair noted, "If FDA requires a                                                                
qualifying statement like that, and we're not allowed to put that                                                               
on there, then we could preclude our two dairies from selling their                                                             
milk to the federal government and to schools who use federal funds                                                             
to buy milk, and I don't think we'd want to do that.  So, I would                                                               
just want to run this by FDA, to make sure that the label - ...                                                                 
because all you'll get on the label is what's in this bill - is                                                                 
going to be satisfactory to them."                                                                                              
MS. ADAIR said she has the same concerns mentioned by                                                                           
Representative Murkowski regarding the meat.  She explained, "Since                                                             
we can't test the meat to determine whether or not it's been                                                                    
treated, and we don't have the benefit of the affidavit, I don't                                                                
know how we would ever enforce or allow someone to -- you know, you                                                             
want them to be in best stead to protect themselves from a claim                                                                
that they have treated their meat, if they haven't.  So, we would                                                               
recommend either something similar to the milk or that the meat be                                                              
deleted from the bill.  I suspect that meat that hasn't been                                                                    
treated gets sold as "organic" instead of "hormone-free" or "not                                                                
from rbST-treated cows" and would be handled under the organic                                                                  
rules that USDA [United States Department of Agriculture] has been                                                              
working on for quite some time."                                                                                                
Number 1598                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI inquired as to what the difference is to                                                               
the consumer in the labels "organic" and "non-synthetic-hormone."                                                               
MS. ADAIR replied that the USDA has been working on organic                                                                     
regulations for quite some time, grappling with that exact issue of                                                             
at what point something becomes non-organic.  She pointed out that                                                              
synthetic hormones typically are considered outside the realm of                                                                
organic, and she would be surprised if they were included.                                                                      
However, irradiation will be considered organic, as of their last                                                               
proposal, which has caused a lot of angst; that is one reason why                                                               
the USDA hasn't yet finalized those rules.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS asked whether there is no charge for                                                                     
MS. ADAIR explained, "We did put a zero fiscal note on the prior                                                                
bill, because we couldn't figure out how to do any enforcement.                                                                 
And in the testimony on the bill last time, Representative Rokeberg                                                             
did point out that we probably should have indicated that, when in                                                              
fact we didn't.  I don't know how many farmers might be interested                                                              
in this, how many records we might find ourselves reviewing.  And                                                               
I probably will talk with our state vet when he gets back in the                                                                
office tomorrow, to see if he's got some clue.  I wouldn't imagine                                                              
it would be a huge amount, but certainly there'd be something                                                                   
associated ... with doing some kind of record review, to ensure                                                                 
that the labeling was accurate."                                                                                                
Number 1688                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked how the other 26 states enforce it.                                                                 
MS. ADAIR said she isn't certain, although she is sure that they do                                                             
it through some type of inspection and review of records.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS suggested the need to find out how the other                                                              
states do that.                                                                                                                 
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG proposed that it should be done after the bill is                                                             
Number 1711                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE returned attention to labeling and asked                                                                   
whether Ms. Adair recommends deleting the last sentence of the                                                                  
first paragraph on page 3, lines 2 through 4.                                                                                   
MS. ADAIR clarified that she simply wants to check with the FDA.                                                                
She has no problem with it unless the FDA has a problem with it, in                                                             
which case she believes the consequences are too severe.                                                                        
Number 1747                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked if the DEC prefers to see Sec.                                                                      
17.20.015, in Section 2, deleted from the bill, as well as                                                                      
subparagraphs (2)(B) and (C) under Sec. 17.20.305, in Section 3,                                                                
regarding penalties relating to meat.                                                                                           
MS. ADAIR indicated either they need some way to verify that the                                                                
meat has not been subjected to the synthetic hormone or they would                                                              
want it deleted.  All they are looking for is verification, but                                                                 
there is no way for the DEC to verify that it is true now.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked whether, if that happened, this bill                                                                
would be much easier for the DEC to defend.                                                                                     
MS. ADAIR affirmed that.                                                                                                        
Number 1796                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked how the state presently grades or inspects                                                              
MS. ADAIR explained that grading of meat is a voluntary program                                                                 
done by the Division of Agriculture, whereas safety inspections of                                                              
meat are done by the DEC, through the Division of Environmental                                                                 
Health.  "We do operate under the USDA rules for meat slaughter and                                                             
inspection," she added.  "We have to do ... pre-slaughter                                                                       
inspections, post-slaughter inspections of the carcass, to make                                                                 
sure that there's no diseases on the carcass.  An inspector is                                                                  
required to be on-site at all times during the processing of the                                                                
carcass to the meat product.  We've essentially just adopted the                                                                
federal rules by reference and follow those.  We do send inspectors                                                             
to Texas A&M to get meat training, and we have three meat                                                                       
inspectors in the state."                                                                                                       
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked whether those inspectors are in Palmer.                                                                 
MS. ADAIR answered that two are in Anchorage at Anchorage Cold                                                                  
Storage (ANCO), noting that federal rules require a meat house to                                                               
provide office space because the inspectors are to be on-site at                                                                
all times.  There is a part-time inspector in Fairbanks, as well as                                                             
the state veterinarian in Palmer, who goes out in the field to do                                                               
inspections, as several inspections are required to be done by a                                                                
Number 1880                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG expressed his understanding that the only major                                                               
slaughterhouse is in Palmer.                                                                                                    
MS. ADAIR replied, "Slaughter, but there is meat processing that                                                                
takes place elsewhere.  Sausage is meat processing, and that's ...                                                              
Indian Valley Meats, Alaska Sausage; the meat packer that was                                                                   
mentioned in Kodiak, he does meat processing.  So, there's a                                                                    
variety of things that take place that are meat processing that                                                                 
don't involve slaughter."                                                                                                       
Number 1899                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG inquired whether there are USDA inspectors in                                                                 
MS. ADAIR answered, "We have an 'equal to' program, and so, we                                                                  
stand in for USDA."                                                                                                             
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if most of the beef grown in Alaska would                                                               
qualify for the USDA's future "organic" designation and, therefore,                                                             
for the label under this bill.                                                                                                  
Number 2004                                                                                                                     
BERT GORE, DVM, State Veterinarian, Animal Industries, Division of                                                              
Environmental Health, Department of Environmental Conservation,                                                                 
answered via teleconference from the Matanuska-Susitna Legislative                                                              
Information Office (Mat-Su LIO).  He explained that there is a                                                                  
federal slaughterhouse on Umnak Island in the Aleutians, plus state                                                             
slaughterhouses at Kodiak, Palmer and Delta Junction, as well as a                                                              
state-operated slaughterhouse at Nunivak.  Meat from Umnak Island                                                               
would certainly be labeled as organic, Dr. Gore stated, which was                                                               
the goal behind that organization, to get Aleutian beef that has no                                                             
synthetic hormones, antibiotics or feed additives.  He added, "Most                                                             
of the animals that are beef animals up here, to my knowledge,                                                                  
we're not using synthetic hormones on."  Dr. Gore pointed out that                                                              
for dairy animals, in contrast, some non-rbST synthetic hormones                                                                
are still used.  He referred to Sec. 17.20.015 of the legislation                                                               
and said, "Most of our dairy cattle that go to slaughter would not                                                              
qualify for that, because of the other synthetic hormones that are                                                              
used in those animals."                                                                                                         
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG requested that Ms. Adair check with the FDA,                                                                  
indicating the bill would be held until her response was received.                                                              
MS. ADAIR agreed to that.                                                                                                       
Number 2093                                                                                                                     
DON LINTELMAN, Northern Lights Dairy, testified next via                                                                        
teleconference from Delta Junction in support of HB 110.  He told                                                               
members he is in favor of the bill because he runs a                                                                            
milk-processing plant and would like to be able to label his milk                                                               
as "no hormones being used."  He believes that might provide him 5                                                              
percent more of the market.                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked Mr. Lintelman whether he periodically sells                                                             
some stock for meat use and consumption.                                                                                        
MR. LINTELMAN replied, "Just the bull calves."  He indicated most                                                               
customers for those are individuals from North Pole or youths who                                                               
are taking on beef projects, for example.  Most of the milkers they                                                             
themselves use, selling very few to Palmer.  "But they're not                                                                   
injected with any hormones at all," he added.                                                                                   
Number 2169                                                                                                                     
ART GRISWOLD, Sleepy Hollow Farm, testified next via teleconference                                                             
from Delta Junction in support of HB 110.  Mr. Griswold would like                                                              
to see a similar affidavit regarding beef, he told members.  Noting                                                             
that the additives aren't allowed for kosher beef, he said it is                                                                
difficult to obtain beef that meets those requirements.  He is                                                                  
raising a small herd of cattle for that reason, and would like to                                                               
be able to send those animals to the slaughterhouse and have the                                                                
beef labeled accordingly.  Mr. Griswold indicated the Canadian                                                                  
government doesn't want these hormones used at all.  He requested                                                               
that restrictions on beef be retained.  In addition, he wants to                                                                
see the 18-day dating provision regarding milk put back into the                                                                
bill; he believes that will help Alaskan farmers because much milk                                                              
being shipped into Alaska is older than that.                                                                                   
Number 2240                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked whether Mr. Griswold looks at his small                                                                 
beef herd for organic meats as a growing area of business, provided                                                             
that there is proper labeling.                                                                                                  
MR. GRISWOLD answered that he definitely believes it is a growing                                                               
area of business.  Whereas Mr. Lintelman is looking at a 5 percent                                                              
increase in the market for his milk, he himself is looking at an                                                                
opening in the beef market, if there is labeling, that has not been                                                             
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked Mr. Griswold if he is also a dairy farmer.                                                              
MR. GRISWOLD indicated he has dairy goats, but no dairy cows.                                                                   
Number 2286                                                                                                                     
MARLA McPHERSON, Cook Inlet Keeper, testified next via                                                                          
teleconference from Homer in support of HB 110.  Ms. McPherson                                                                  
noted that Cook Inlet Keeper is a nonprofit citizen organization                                                                
composed of over 500 members from Homer, Anchorage, Talkeetna and                                                               
throughout the Cook Inlet watershed who are working to protect the                                                              
environment and human health in Cook Inlet.  She stated that Cook                                                               
Inlet Keeper supports HB 110 because the bill is in the best                                                                    
interest of human health and the economic health of Alaska's meat                                                               
and dairy farmers.  Ms. McPherson explained that the public has an                                                              
increased awareness and concern for human health because in the                                                                 
past four years people have witnessed a sharp increase in human                                                                 
health problems that may be directly linked to increased exposure                                                               
to harmful synthetics such as rBGH.  Cancer has risen 49.3 percent                                                              
in the last four years and, today, 40 percent of Americans will                                                                 
contract cancer sometime during their lifespan.  In fact, cancer is                                                             
the leading cause of death among Americans between 36 to 64 years                                                               
MS. McPHERSON said, although synthetic bovine growth hormone [rBGH]                                                             
hasn't been proven to cause cancer, it's just one more thing that                                                               
people are being exposed to that can contribute to human health                                                                 
concerns.  She indicated that, although the FDA claims that rBGH is                                                             
safe for human consumption, there still isn't conclusive evidence,                                                              
which causes concern.  Studies on the synthetic hormone show that                                                               
the immune system detects and responds to the hormone, and, in                                                                  
fact, cysts have reportedly developed on the thyroids of male rats                                                              
exposed to rBGH, and some of the rats suffered increased                                                                        
infiltration of the prostate gland.  She said these studies are                                                                 
incomplete.  Long-term toxicology studies have not been done to                                                                 
determine the ultimate effects of the hormone on human health.                                                                  
Number 2355                                                                                                                     
MS. McPHERSON believes they can't wait until there's substantial                                                                
proof.  She feels some people who might oppose this bill may claim                                                              
that there's no proof that it causes cancer or human health                                                                     
concerns, therefore, it doesn't matter whether these things are                                                                 
labeled or not, but "we" can't wait until there's proof.  She                                                                   
thinks that the surgeon general set a really good example when he                                                               
said that smoking could cause cancer 30 years before there was                                                                  
conclusive scientific proof that, in fact, chemicals of cigarette                                                               
smoke did cause cancer. She feels a precedent needs to be set by                                                                
putting labels that say that the milk products are hormone-free so                                                              
that people can be provided with the information they need to make                                                              
a choice whether to consume the product or not.                                                                                 
MS. McPHERSON believed the public has a right to know what                                                                      
chemicals and hormones are put into the food they consume,                                                                      
regardless if there's conclusive evidence those chemicals cause                                                                 
cancer or other health defects.  Some studies of rBGH have already                                                              
produced results of concern.  She stated that it should ensure that                                                             
humans have the timely and accurate information on the products                                                                 
they consume to make the choice on whether they want to consume it                                                              
or not.  Ms. Mcpherson thinks many people are concerned about their                                                             
health and the health of their friends and family and children.                                                                 
She feels passing HB 110 will give people the information they need                                                             
to make choices to protect their health.  She agrees with the                                                                   
things that have already been said that HB 110 will create niche                                                                
markets for meat and dairy farmers.  These are the niche markets                                                                
that need to compete with the large corporate farms from outside.                                                               
Ms. Mcpherson urged the support of Alaskan farmers and human health                                                             
in Alaska by passing HB 110.                                                                                                    
Number 2417                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked Ms. McPherson to please fax her testimony                                                               
to the committee for the record.  He also asked if she could                                                                    
explain to the committee what Cook Inlet Keeper is and how it is                                                                
MS. McPHERSON stated that Cook Inlet Keeper was started three years                                                             
ago by a settlement against the oil industry for over 4,000                                                                     
violations of the Clean Water Act on the offshore oil platforms in                                                              
the upper Cook Inlet.  She explained that, instead of putting the                                                               
money into the general reserves, the industry, the courts, the EPA                                                              
[Environmental Protection Agency] and citizen organizations agreed                                                              
that the money should go to establishing a non-profit organization                                                              
that would essentially monitor environmental health in the Cook                                                                 
Inlet watershed.  She indicated that, since the court decree has                                                                
been fulfilled, the organization is now funded by citizen and                                                                   
foundation support.                                                                                                             
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked Ms. McPherson if she is either a volunteer                                                              
or a staff member of Cook Inlet Keeper.                                                                                         
MS. McPHERSON replied that she is a staff member.                                                                               
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG confirmed there were no further witnesses on HB
110.  He asked if Mr. Fellman wished to comment in follow-up.                                                                   
Number 2471                                                                                                                     
MR. FELLMAN began, "I just wanted to take a second and point out                                                                
that the concerns with the language..." [TESTIMONY INTERRUPTED BY                                                               
AUTOMATIC TAPE CHANGE]                                                                                                          
[From tape log notes:  'concerns w/ pg. 2-3' 'Minnesota state law'                                                              
'(language came directly from Minnesota law)']                                                                                  
TAPE 99-41, SIDE B                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
MR. FELLMAN continued, "...it's been accepted I should say by the                                                               
FDA, that is the exact language - there was a court case ... where                                                              
it was challenged, and that particular language did stand up in                                                                 
that court case."                                                                                                               
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked Mr. Fellman to please work with the                                                                     
department on that issue.  The chairman mentioned he has a concern                                                              
with Section 3 of the bill pertaining to the exclusion of persons                                                               
from penalty for violation unless the person owns ten percent or                                                                
more of the business.                                                                                                           
MR. FELLMAN indicated that some lines had to be drawn between how                                                               
much of the interest the person may have in any given business to                                                               
determine if they were going to be involved in the decision-making.                                                             
He explained that 10 percent was established as the starting point                                                              
with the hopes that it would cover the mean, again at the                                                                       
recommendation of Legal Services [Legal Services, Legislative Legal                                                             
and Research Services, Legislative Affairs Agency].                                                                             
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG feels that this puts the focus on the small                                                                   
operator and excludes all the competition from being penalized.  He                                                             
suspects all major corporate dairies would not be included.                                                                     
Number 0067                                                                                                                     
MR. FELLMAN indicated he would check with legislative counsel and                                                               
get more detail on that issue.  He stated that in a lot of cases,                                                               
such as with a corporation like Darigold, all the dairymen hold a                                                               
small percentage of that corporation.                                                                                           
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG wondered if it is similar to stocks.                                                                          
MR. FELLMAN replied yes.                                                                                                        
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said that it appears to him that any corporate                                                                
entity gets a stake here unless one goes directly to the chairman                                                               
of the board and "try to apply a misdemeanor offense (indisc.),                                                                 
out-of-state foreign chairman of the board if you will, which may                                                               
be very difficult to enforce."  He asked Mr. Fellman to examine                                                                 
those concerns and provide a report to the committee.  The chairman                                                             
indicated HB 110 would be held for further work.                                                                                
Number 0137                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG called an at-ease at 4:15 p.m.  The committee                                                                 
came back to order at 4:19 p.m.                                                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects