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.
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.
The EPA failed to take environmental and public health risks into account when it reapproved two brand-name weedkillers produced by Corteva that contain the herbicide 2,4-D, according to a federal lawsuit that challenges the 2022 decision. The plaintiffs asked the U.S. district court in Washington, D.C., to vacate the registrations of Enlist One and Enlist Duo and to halt sales of the products while the EPA reconsiders their risks.
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.
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.
The Biden administration appointed 20 food and nutrition experts on Thursday to help overhaul the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide food-based recommendations to prevent diet-related chronic diseases.
More foods could carry the word “healthy” on the label under an FDA proposal announced on Wednesday, if they are part of a healthy dietary pattern and recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The agency said it was updating its criteria for the “healthy” label in hopes of improving the U.S. diet.
The great majority of public schools serve breakfasts and lunches that contain higher amounts of added sugar than recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, said a USDA report to Congress. “The main source of added sugars ... was flavored fat-free milk,” it said.
With views of the Rocky Mountains, the occasional squadron of American white pelicans passing through, and a boardwalk for strolling, northern Colorado’s Windsor Lake is a popular destination for paddle boarding, kayaking, and swimming. But the lake is off-limits this week after city officials sampled the water and found concerning levels of blue-green algae, which can contain toxins harmful to humans, pets, and wildlife. (No paywall)
A crash program to streamline U.S. imports of infant formula has worked so well, the FDA will make it permanent, said agency leaders on Wednesday. The program, which began in May when domestic supplies ran low, has resulted in shipments from nine countries of enough formula to fill 400 million 8-ounce bottles.
The administration’s Operation Fly Formula will deliver 680,000 pounds of infant formula from makers in Great Britain and Australia beginning on June 9, said the White House on Wednesday. The deliveries would be the equivalent of 8.3 million 8-ounce bottles of formula.
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.
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.
In a White House video, President Biden said on Wednesday that the administration would “lay out our plan to combat hunger and improve nutrition for every American” at the hunger, nutrition, and health conference set for September. More than 10 percent of Americans were food insecure and hunger rates spiked during the early months of the pandemic.
In a first step toward a new edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the government proposed a list of questions for experts to consider, addressing such issues as obesity, the consumption of ultra-processed foods, and strategies for diet quality and weight management. Two hot-button issues — alcoholic beverages and sustainable food production — will be considered separately, it said.
The Biden administration extended the Covid-19 public health emergency on Wednesday, keeping increased nutrition benefits for millions of families in place for the coming months.
After decades of fighting hunger with food stamps, WIC, and school lunch, the USDA will raise its aim to nutrition security, meaning consistent access to healthful foods for all Americans, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday. The new approach will rely on food education and outreach to neglected groups as well as stronger nutrition standards in federal food programs.
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.