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Features: Global Food Partnerships
FSMA’s impact on international policies and trade
Following up on a lawsuit filed in early July, a group of meat and livestock trade organizations asked a federal court on July 26 to grant an injunction against the implementation of the USDA’s country-of-origin labeling (COOL) regulations...The rule is “arbitrary and capricious, offering little benefit to consumers while fundamentally altering the meat and poultry industry,” according to a statement.
The foreign supplier verification rule requires that imported foods meet the same safety standards as domestically-produced foods, and put the burden of meeting those standards on the importing companies, which will have to prove their foreign suppliers have adequate controls in place...But some hurdles still stand in the way of full FSMA implementation.
The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) has proposed a number of updates to the Food Chemical Codex (FCC), including the first example of a new type of resource, the FCC Identity Standard, designed to help food scientists verify the identity of complex food ingredients.The newly introduced identity standards will provide tests to confirm that a product is what it purports to be, as well as tests for substances that should not be found in an authentic product, according to the USP. The first proposed FCC...
A complaint against Brothers International Food Corp., brought by a former employee, alleges that the company fired the plaintiff in retaliation for raising safety and health concerns about its products. The June 6 complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, is the first to be filed in a federal court under the employee protection provisions of the FSMA, according to a public interest advocacy organization.
The use of sharp needles or blades to tenderize meat by breaking up muscle fiber can push pathogens on the meat’s surface deep into the interior, where they are less likely to be reached and eradicated by cooking or surface cleaning. It’s fairly common practice; the USDA estimates that 37 percent of meat processors use at least some mechanical tenderization.
The USDA is readying new initiatives to support the growing organic agriculture industry in the U.S., agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack told the Organic Trade Association at a speech to its policy conference on May 14. “Organic is not the ‘same as.’ It is its own separate commodity and needs to be treated as such. I’m committed to that,” Vilsack said.
Features: Seed, The Ultimate Weapon
Over the past 30 years, the seed industry has experienced considerable consolidation. Now, according to The Farmer to Farmer Campaign on a Genetic Engineering, only 10 U.S. companies account for over two-thirds of the world’s seed for major crops, including corn, soybeans, canola, and cotton. The top four biotechnology or biotech companies in the industry alone account for approximately 43 percent of the global seed market, which notably includes both genetically modified (GM or GMOs) and...
Pulling back from an April 25 report that as many as 2,100 food inspections—or approximately 18% of the total conducted by the agency—would be eliminated this year as a result of the government sequester, FDA officials announced on May 5 that it would reconfigure its budget to avoid reducing inspections.
The proposed budget for the FDA would total $4.65 billion for fiscal year 2014, which begins Oct. 1, 2013. The budget seeks a 21.4 percent increase of $821 million over the baseline fiscal year 2012 enacted budget, and an 11.2 percent increase of $470 million over the fiscal year 2013 (continuing resolution) budget. However, virtually all of these increases (about 94 percent) would come from user fees from the food, drug, and cosmetics industries as opposed to federal appropriations.