North Iowa Grocery Stores Face Possible Conventional Egg Sales Requirement

The Iowa House has voted to require the state’s grocers to sell “conventional” eggs in addition to eggs that come from “free-range” or “cage free” operations. The requirement would be in force for stores that accept federal “Women, Infants and Children” or “WIC” food benefits. Representative Bruce Bearinger, from Oelwein, backs the bill.

The legislator who introduced the bill said he’s concerned about the pressure retailers are getting to sell only eggs that come from “cage free” operations. The bill as originally written would have simply forced north Iowa grocers and those around the state, to always have conventional eggs for sale. It was adjusted, though, to link that requirement with participation in the WIC program. Bill backers say “conventional” eggs are signficantly less expensive.
Representative Bruce Hunter, from Des Moines, says the market should dictate policy for grocers who might find a way to sell “specialty” eggs at a competitive price.

Hunter’s view was in the minority. The bill passed the House on an 81-to-17 vote. Representative Jarad Klein, from Keota, says eggs “are a staple people need in their pantry” and the bill will ensure Iowans who’re getting WIC benefits can buy the least expensive eggs.

A similar bill is eligible for debate in the Iowa Senate.