food safety

Report: Baby food is less toxic but still often contains pesticides

Non-organic baby food is less toxic than it was 30 years ago, but it still contains pesticides at least 38 percent of the time, according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group. EWG researchers noted that federal agencies have made strides in regulating pesticide contamination in baby food, but advised parents and caregivers to use caution at the grocery store.

FDA will have ‘a more meaningful agenda’ on food additives, says deputy commissioner

While California took the spotlight with a new law banning four food additives, FDA deputy commissioner Jim Jones said on Monday that the agency will adopt "a more meaningful agenda" on food chemicals as it reorganizes its food safety wing. Jones, who began work two months ago as chief of human foods, has said the safe use of chemicals and dietary supplements is one of his three priorities.

FDA proposes banning brominated vegetable oil as food additive

The Food and Drug Administration moved to ban the use of brominated vegetable oil in food on Thursday, saying new tests proved conclusively that it was not safe. The agency acted a month after California outlawed BVO, along with three other food additives: potassium bromate, propylparaben, and red dye No. 3.

New FDA food chief names top three priorities

A month after starting work as the FDA’s first deputy commissioner for human foods, Jim Jones on Thursday listed three areas for attention to promote the health and wellness of Americans: preventing foodborne illness, decreasing diet-related chronic disease through improved nutrition, and protecting the food supply through the safe use of chemicals and dietary supplements.

As part of reorganization, FDA names its first deputy commissioner for food

Seven months after saying he would put more emphasis on food safety, FDA commissioner Robert Califf announced the appointment of James Jones as the agency’s first deputy commissioner for human foods on Wednesday. Jones, a former EPA pesticide regulator, was a member of a task force calling for unified leadership on food safety duties that have been scattered among FDA offices.

Bills would allow CBD in supplements, foods, and beverages

Companion bills in the Senate and House would allow the hemp derivative cannabidiol, also known as CBD, to be used in dietary supplements, foods, and beverages, the bills’ four sponsors said on Thursday.

USDA asks, is it really antibiotic-free, raised humanely?

Two USDA agencies will begin a sampling project to see if there are antibiotic residues in beef marketed as “raised without antibiotics,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday. The USDA’s food safety agency will also issue a guideline recommending that companies produce more proof when they want to use a label that says animals were raised under specific conditions.

Mad cow case traced to Tennessee producer

Animal health officials announced the seventh case of mad cow disease in the United States in 20 years — an apparently spontaneous infection of a beef cow from a farm in southeastern Tennessee.

USDA: Stronger biosecurity reduced spread of bird flu

Fewer than 900,000 birds in domestic flocks have died due to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) this year, said the Agriculture Department in a review of bird flu outbreaks that date from February 2022.

EPA ‘forever chemicals’ regs could cost communities billions, experts say

The Environmental Protection Agency is due to announce enforceable regulations on the amount of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a class of thousands of chemicals collectively known as PFAS, allowed in drinking water. Those rules, which could be announced as early as today, could end up costing communities around the country nearly $40 billion to implement, according to the Associated Press.

FDA needs a deputy commissioner for food, says coalition of lawmakers, industry and public health groups

If FDA commissioner Robert Califf listens to outside advice, he would create a powerful post — deputy commissioner for food — as part of restructuring of the agency. Califf could unveil a "new vision" for the FDA — which has been criticized as a disorganized protecter of the food supply — as early as Tuesday. The common idea from lawmakers, the food industry and public health groups was to put one person in charge of FDA's food offices.

Top FDA food safety official resigns as agency reorganization nears

Deputy commissioner Frank Yiannas resigned as the top food safety official at the FDA, effective Feb. 24, in a three-page letter that defended his record and criticized the agency for a decentralized structure that hobbled its protection of the food supply.

Study: freshwater fish full of forever chemicals

Just a single serving of freshwater fish per year could result in the same exposure to the “forever chemical” perfluorooctane sulfonate as drinking a month's worth of water laced with the chemical, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Research. (No paywall)

Senate confirms U.S. ag negotiator and USDA food safety chief

In some of its final actions of the year, the Senate approved by voice vote on Thursday the nominations of Doug McKalip as chief agricultural negotiator at the U.S. trade representative’s office and Jose Esteban as Agriculture undersecretary for food safety.

Study: Lake Erie fish safe to eat, but still suffering

A new study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment shows that while Lake Erie fish fillets are safe to eat, the fish themselves may not be doing so well.(No paywall)

White House bolsters security for food and ag sector

The federal government will keep a closer eye on threats to the U.S. food supply, such as cyberattacks and pandemic diseases, under a national security memorandum signed by President Biden.

USDA ‘framework’ intended to reduce salmonella-related illness

Poultry processors could be required to test birds for salmonella bacteria before slaughter and for so-called indicator organisms during processing under a USDA proposal aimed at reducing food-borne illnesses in raw poultry. Under the framework, the Food Safety and Inspection Service might create an enforceable standard to prevent sale of poultry with high levels of the bacteria.

As damage continues, EPA ponders whether dicamba is safe to use at all

The notoriously volatile weedkiller dicamba was blamed for 3,500 incidents of "off-target" damage this year, including to more than 1 million acres of soybeans, said the EPA on Tuesday. The regulator said it was reviewing whether dicamba "can be used in a manner that does not pose unreasonable risks" and said it would help states that wish to restrict use of the herbicide.

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.

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