FDA

Formula supply will improve ‘in a matter of days,’ says FDA chief

U.S. infant formula makers are revving up production and the door is open to imported formula, so “we should see improvement in a matter of days” from shortages nationwide, FDA commissioner Robert Califf said Thursday on Capitol Hill. Califf also said he would strengthen food safety procedures at the agency, though key lawmakers argued he was not going far enough.

To fight shortage, Biden gives infant formula makers priority for materials

President Biden invoked his executive powers on Wednesday to give infant formula manufacturers first call on ingredients, and announced Operation Fly Formula, which would carry formula from overseas suppliers to the United States. Both steps were aimed at alleviating shortages that followed the shutdown of a large formula plant in Michigan, where FDA inspectors found bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.

Infant formula bills are put on fast track for House vote

House Democratic leaders unveiled a pair of bills on Tuesday to ease infant formula shortages and beef up the FDA office in charge of assuring the products are safe for babies. "People are selling samples on the street. Mothers are watering down formula. Quite frankly, they're desperate," said Rep. Jahana Hayes of Connecticut, sponsor of one of the bills.

Consent decree to clean up and re-start infant formula plant

Abbott Nutrition would hire an outside expert and implement a sanitation plan at its infant formula plant in Michigan as part of returning the plant to production and ending U.S. shortages of formula, said the Justice Department on Monday. The largest U.S. maker of formula, Abbott has said it could resume production within two weeks once it has a federal go-ahead but it could take several weeks for products to reach retailers.

Election outlook softens for two House Democratic aggies

The political environment looks promising for Republicans in the House, said Sabato’s Crystal Ball on Wednesday. The political newsletter said two Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee, Sanford Bishop and Antonio Delgado, are facing races that have become more competitive than they once were.

Ag groups urge USDA to take over regulation of GE animals

Calling it a step for “much-needed innovations,” 11 agricultural organizations urged an Agriculture Department takeover of federal regulation of genetically engineered food animals, now in FDA’s hands. The Trump administration proposed the transfer — over FDA objections — in late 2020 and it …

FDA clears CRISPR cattle for meat production

Following a safety review, U.S. food regulators said short-haired cattle produced through gene editing can be raised for meat production. Meat from the cattle could be available for purchase in as little as two years, said the Food and Drug Administration.

USDA eases WIC rules during infant formula recall

With a massive recall of infant formula underway, the USDA encouraged state and tribal officials on Wednesday to ensure that WIC recipients could exchange their recalled baby formula and use their WIC benefits to buy replacement products. Abbott announced a recall of three of its formula brands last week.

A plateau in sales of antibiotics for livestock after steep decline

Following the FDA ban on use of medically important antibiotics to encourage weight gain in hogs, cattle and poultry, sales of the drugs are averaging 6.1 million kilograms (13.4 million pounds) a year, a decline of 37 percent from their 2015 peak.

FDA proposes water rule for produce growers

Fruit and vegetable growers would be required to conduct annual assessments of their water supplies to identify and mitigate threats of contamination for their crops under a rule proposed by the FDA on Thursday. The assessments would replace a requirement that growers conduct tests of water quality.

Califf nominated to run FDA for a second time

Dr. Robert Califf, who led the FDA during the last year of the Obama administration, would run the agency again if the Senate agrees with President Biden's nomination. The president said Califf "has the experience and expertise to lead the Food and Drug Administration during a critical time in our nation’s fight to put an end to the coronavirus pandemic."

Voluntary FDA guidelines would cut salt intake by 12 percent

With Americans consuming 50 percent more salt than recommended, the FDA issued voluntary guidelines on Wednesday that would reduce sodium content in packaged and restaurant food, the major source of salt in the diet. The FDA said guidelines might "become one of the most significant public health nutrition interventions in a generation."

USDA: What should we call cell-cultured meat?

With cell-cultured meat getting closer to the marketplace, the USDA's meat safety agency is asking consumers how the high-tech products should be labeled and whether using names such as "pork loin" or "steak" to describe them should be permitted.

Discourage dewormer as Covid treatment, FDA asks veterinarians, retailers

Since early this year, the FDA has warned against using the drug ivermectin, a livestock dewormer, to treat or prevent Covid-19. On Monday, it asked veterinarians and retailers to discourage their clientele from buying the medicine to use on themselves. “People are purchasing various highly …

McConnell may sidetrack USDA, other federal funding bills in Senate dispute

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a mammoth USDA-FDA funding bill on Wednesday that includes $7 billion in disaster funds for crop and livestock losses in 2020 and this year. Almost immediately after the 25-5 vote, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell threatened to sidetrack the USDA and other appropriations bills in a budget dispute with Democrats, who control the Senate.

Senate committee to vote on $7 billion in disaster aid for farmers

Farm-state senators celebrated the first step of including $7 billion for disaster relief in the annual USDA-FDA funding bill, with a crucial vote looming on Wednesday in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Action in the Senate mirrored efforts in the House last week to help farmers and …

Fewer over-the-counter antibiotics for livestock

Drugmakers will have two years to change the sales availability of some medically important livestock antimicrobials to prescription-only, said the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday. The shift from over-the-counter sales would mean the drugs can be used only under veterinary supervision.

USDA allows more time to discuss regulation of GE animals

The USDA announced an additional 60 days for public comment on a proposal that originated in the final weeks of the Trump administration to put USDA, rather than FDA, in charge of regulating livestock and poultry created through genetic engineering.

Sen. Baldwin to oversee USDA, FDA budgets

Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin will chair the Senate Appropriations subcommittee in charge of USDA and FDA spending for the next two years, announced the committee leaders. North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven, the former chairman, will be the senior Republican on the subcommittee now that Democrats …

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