New leaders for USDA meat inspection, crop subsidy and marketing agencies

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Carmen Rottenberg will lead USDA's meat inspection agency, Richard Fordyce will head the Farm Service Agency, and Bruce Summers is the new chief of the Agricultural Marketing Service.

For first time, FDA orders a food recall

The FDA ordered a mandatory recall of powdered kratom products manufactured by a Nevada company because salmonella bacteria were found in the herbal supplement, said the Washington Post.

The cattle farmer who became the newest U.S. senator

The Senate is in recess so it will be another week before cattle farmer Cindy Hyde-Smith, a veteran of state politics, formally succeeds Thad Cochran as U.S. senator from Mississippi. She already has a Republican challenger in the November special election to serve the final two years of Cochran's term, and had a get-acquainted meeting with top White House officials last week.

Report touts upside, refutes downside of hedgerows

A two-year study by University of California researchers says that hedgerows, the strips of vegetation along the edges of fields, take up so little space that they are not a shelter for rodents or a source of food-borne pathogens.

French dairy giant recalls 7,000 tons of baby formula

Lactalis, the biggest dairy company in France, has recalled over 7,000 tons of baby formula and powdered milk products across 80 countries, reports the New York Times. The recalls, which were implemented over the course of several weeks, amounted to one of the biggest such recalls in history. At least 38 children were sickened by salmonella found in the recalled products.

FDA, USDA pledge greater coordination on food safety

The leaders of the USDA and the FDA, which together oversee the U.S. food supply, signed a formal agreement at the White House to reduce regulatory overlap and improve the efficiency of the federal food safety system.

USDA will allow more poultry plants to run at faster line speeds

Poultry processors will soon be able to ask the USDA’s meat safety agency for permission to run slaughter lines at up to 175 birds per minute, an increase from the current limit of 140 birds.

There’s a lot of work to do at USDA during a shutdown

An estimated three-fourths of USDA employees would be furloughed in a federal shutdown, but officials said major activities will continue, such as food stamps, meat inspection and support for the NAFTA negotiations scheduled to resume on Tuesday. Over the weekend, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue sent a series of 12 tweets, most of them illustrated with topical photos, that formed a comprehensive list of ongoing activities.

USDA proposes new inspection system for market hogs

In order to modernize its work at slaughter plants, the USDA proposed a new inspection program that allows "innovation and flexibility" at plants slaughtering young and generally healthy market hogs. The consumer group Food and Water Watch called the proposed New Swine Inspection Sytems an attempt to privatize meat inspection and to speed up line speeds.

USDA proposes rule to modernize food-safety systems at egg facilities

Under a new rule proposed by the USDA’s Food Safety & Inspection Service, facilities that process egg products will have to develop and implement “hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) systems” in an effort to modernize safety processes in the egg industry.