The FDA will soon announce a two-year delay on a rule setting water-quality standards for large produce farms, said Frank Yiannas, the agency’s deputy commissioner for food safety, on Thursday.
In a step that moves a new industry closer to commercial reality, the premier federal food-safety agencies agreed on Thursday on how to jointly regulate cell-based meat, a laboratory-grown protein that farm groups call “fake meat.” The FDA will oversee cell collection and growth, while the USDA will oversee harvesting and processing, and have final say over labeling.
Congress may need to intervene to assure the high-level coordination of food safety efforts, said the Government Accountability Office on Wednesday in a report listing three dozen “high-risk” areas throughout the government.
The 2018 farm bill legalized industrial hemp production, but it is likely to be 2020 before the USDA produces the regulatory framework for the new crop, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday.
In a look back at last November’s recall of romaine lettuce, the FDA says that although “one farm cannot explain the entire outbreak,” it is now able to identify potential sources of E. coli contamination by using technology that can track foods from field to consumer.
On the same day the FDA warned companies against hawking dietary supplements for Alzheimer's disease, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced "one of the most significant modernizations of dietary supplement regulation and oversight in 25 years." Three out of every four Americans take dietary supplements regularly, contributing to an industry worth more than $40 billion.
About half of the USDA’s local offices will be open for three days, beginning Thursday, to deal with existing farm loans and provide tax documents to farmers and ranchers. USDA employees will not consider applications for new loans, the new dairy support program, disaster relief, or Trump tariff payments.
On Thursday, in a test of partisan resolve, the Democratic-controlled House passed, on a nearly party-line vote of 243-180, a funding bill to reopen the USDA and FDA. With the exception of essential work such as meat inspection, both agencies have been shuttered since late December by the partial government shutdown.
Sales of medically important antibiotics for use in food animals are down by 41 percent in two years as part of the FDA's campaign to preserve the efficacy of antibiotics. "We hope this downward trend will continue," said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Tuesday. "These reductions are an indication that our ongoing efforts to support antimicrobial stewardship are having a significant impact."
When cell-based meat appears in grocery stores, it should be labeled so that consumers know it came from a lab and not from livestock, two cattle-state senators told the Trump administration’s nominee to run the USDA’s food safety unit on Wednesday.