The American Bakers Association works on well over 50 legislative and regulatory issues. Members of ABA policy committees shape the issue positions in concert with an ABA staff liaison.
ABA's top legislative and regulatory issues are listed and summarized below. In-depth descriptions can be found on each issue's page. If you do not see the issue you are looking for, please check under the appropriate committee page.
- Food Safety
- Volatility in the Wheat Market
- Nutrition & Wellness
- Health Care and New Regulations
- Sugar Program Reform
- Biotechnology & Wheat Research
- Labor & Workforce Issues
- Combustible Dust
ABA is leading industry implementation strategies for the new Food Safety Modernization Act. These include a citizens petition to exempt low risk depots from costly preventative control requirements and responses to FDA proposals that would impact the baking industry. Learn more.
Commodity market volatility remains high due to the influence of index funds in the markets. ABA is working with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to create responsible market regulations that secure future participation for traditional market participants. Learn more.
ABA continues to lead the grain chain on post Dietary Guidelines nutrition policy issues. These include grain messaging for the MyPlate food icon, USDA’s school meal standard proposal, marketing to children, sodium reduction strategies and front of pack labeling opportunities. Learn more.
In the 111th Congress, ABA successfully prevented egregious proposals from becoming law, including the Employee Free Choice Act (Card Check), the Employee Misclassification Act and the Patriot Employer Act. While the legislative threat is neutralized, ABA is working closely with 112th Congress to address major concerns with the National Labor Relations Board’s activist agenda. The NLRB is attempting to dramatically prohibit employer bargaining rights and election timelines, as well as decrease the size and scope of a bargaining unit, making it easier for unions to target smaller numbers of employees. ABA will continue to be a strong advocate for the industry ensuring that the bakers’ voice is heard regarding labor and workforce issues. Learn more.
The ENERGY STAR® Challenge for the baking industry highlights ABA’s sustainable development efforts. Customers and consumers have placed an increased emphasis on corporate citizenship and operational efficiency. ABA continues to partner with the Allied Trades of the Baking Industry and grain chain to develop sustainability guidance for the baking industry. Learn more.
The current U.S. sugar program costs bakers and consumers upwards of $4 billion dollars each year in higher sugar costs and has led to a loss of more than 112,000 U.S. jobs since 1997. Sugar policy restricts imports – many years leading to dangerously low supplies. ABA is working vigorously with Congress to create a more baker and consumer-friendly sugar program. Learn more.
Federal funds for USDA’s basic wheat research initiatives are severely threatened. ABA is actively urging members of Congress to continue vitally important wheat research to improve yield, nutritional quality and disease resistance to benefit both bakers and consumers. ABA is also working together with the wheat growers and millers to address issues surrounding the future commercialization of biotech wheat. Learn more.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) may seek precedent-setting control requirements for proof boxes that would significantly impact ABA members nationwide. The estimates for these controls could range from $150,000 – $180,000 per ton of volatile organic compounds per bakery line. These would include capital costs, added personnel time, inefficiencies and interruption of production, and additional energy costs. ABA continues to actively engage with IDEM and bakers to find a solution. Learn more.
Congress passed a massive overhaul of the health care system in 2010. Soon to be enforced provisions include a new tax on health care plans, an employer mandate to provide a certain level of health care benefits, new restrictions on HSAs and FSAs and much more. ABA is actively engaged in “repeal and replace” efforts in the 112th Congress. ABA will continue to seek opportunities to mitigate the impact to the baking industry. Learn more.
Corn-based ethanol has accelerated the decrease of wheat acreage in the U.S. over the past 30 years and tightened food supplies around the world. Further, the 30-year-old ethanol tax credit costs the nation more than $6 billion dollars per year. The Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit expired at the end of 2011. After three decades, this is a first step toward restoring the balance between food and fuel crops. ABA called on bakers to march on Washington four years ago as part of the Band of Bakers, starting a sea change of attitudes around the country and on Capitol Hill regarding ethanol. Learn more.