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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently announced that it will review en banc the case that declares USDA’s Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) rule unconstitutional. This follows the March 28, 2014 ruling that had the court upholding COOL, saying the rule can indeed be enforced. New oral arguments will now take place on May 19, 2014.
Tomato growers Backyard Farms of Madison, Maine, was awarded the 13th annual Food Quality and Safety Award at a special ceremony on April 9 during the Food Safety Summit in Baltimore, Md. Sponsored by DuPont Nutrition & Health and presented by Food Quality & Safety magazine, the honor recognizes a North American quality assurance department or program each year that has made significant improvements in food safety and quality.
In the absence of federal regulations for the safe production of food products that include marijuana, the state of Colorado is at the forefront of setting its own regulations. Colorado voters agreed to legalize recreational marijuana in November 2013, and now it falls to the state’s Department of Revenue Marijuana Enforcement Division to ensure that food made with this ingredient is safe for human consumption.
Cantaloupe safety in the U.S. appears to be improving, according to results of a summer 2013 survey by FDA field officers that were recently reported by Michigan State University. “By and large, samples of melons last summer came back free of Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria,” said the report. “Most growers are practicing good agricultural practices, even if they aren’t certified as such or keeping records documenting food safety practices.”
Food industry employers may need to take a hard look at their processes for handling employee complaints about perceived food safety issues, given the provisions of a new interim final rule about how whistleblower complaints will be handled in the future.
Over 99 percent of produce products sampled by the USDA’s Pesticide Data Program in 2012 had pesticide residues that fell below tolerance levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a report issued by the USDA on February 21. Only 0.53 percent of samples tested (63 of 11,893) had residues above the tolerance limit.
Genotyping of the more than 19,000 soybean accessions in the USDA Soybean Germplasm Collection will enable soybean breeders to develop and select seeds for better disease and insect resistance and other traits that are needed for specific field and climate conditions, according to a USDA researcher.
The increased production of genetically modified crops around the globe has led to a higher number of incidents of low levels of GMOs being detected in traded food and feed, according to a FAO survey. As a result, there have been trade disruptions between countries with shipments being blocked by importing countries and destroyed (burned) or returned to the country of origin.
FDA recently entered into a consent decree with the Center for Food Safety that sets firm deadlines for the agency’s submission of final rules implementing the FSMA to the Federal Register for publication.
Last month, the FDA published an interim final rule to further safeguard infant formula in the U.S. The rule, which sets standards for manufacturers to produce safe infant formula that supports healthy growth, is accompanied by two draft guidance documents for industry.