FDA chief sees need for ‘fundamental’ change in its food program

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf said Tuesday that he has taken a closer look at the FDA food program and concluded that "fundamental questions about the structure, function, funding and leadership need to be addressed." The statement comes as criticism of the agency, spurred by the recent shortage of infant formula, has mounted.

After two years of work, USDA publishes national hemp rule

Two years after the 2018 farm bill legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp, the USDA completed work on a regulation to oversee production. Some advocates say hemp could become a profitable crop grown across the country while other analysts say comparatively low demand will limit hemp …

At FDA meeting, controversy over lab-grown meat

The Food and Drug Administration held a public meeting Thursday on the safety and labeling of alternative “meat” proteins produced with animal cell culture technology. In a packed room, FDA employees, industry stakeholders, and scientists discussed current trends in the controversial sector, which some imagine could reshape how Americans consume meat. (No paywall)

Trump remolds watchdog agency for futures markets

The Republican-controlled Senate put President Trump's stamp on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which oversees the futures markets, by approving his choice for CFTC chairman and two of his nominees for the five-member board. The nominations were approved by unanimous consent and give the CFTC board a majority for the first time in months.

USDA invites ideas from the public on regulatory reform

Carrying out an executive order from the White House, the USDA is inviting public comment over the next year on “regulations, guidance documents, or any other policy documents that are in need of reform, for example ideas to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal those items.” In a Federal …

EPA and Interior overhaul scientific advisory boards to favor industry

In a move meant to stem government regulation, the EPA is cutting academic scientists from its scientific review board and replacing them with industry representatives, while the Interior Department prepares for a review of the scientists on its own advisory council.

Hot issues could put the chill on farm bill fever

The Senate Agriculture Committee holds its first farm bill hearing today in Kansas, 19 months before expiration of current law. Congress has not enacted a farm bill on time since 1990, so an early start seems prudent — the committee held its kickoff in Washington last week. Yet, it's too early to push to the side other issues that could dominate 2017.

New EPA chief Pruitt worked closely with industry while state official

Released under court order, thousands of pages of emails show how Scott Pruitt, the new EPA administrator, "closely coordinated with major oil and gas producers, electric utilities" and anti-regulation political groups in opposing environmental regulations while Oklahoma attorney general, said the New York Times. "The correspondence points to the tension emerging as Mr Pruitt is now charged with regulating many of the same companies," said the newspaper, adding, "the emails are unlikely to cause Mr. Pruitt significant new problems."

‘There’s a lot more uncertainty’ as Trump era nears, says NFU leader

In 10 weeks, Donald Trump will become president and "there's a lot more uncertainty" about his plans for food and agriculture policy than normally accompanies an incoming administration, says president Roger Johnson of the National Farmers Union. "We know a fair amount of what he's against and less of what he's for."

China sets strict rules on Internet sale of food

Food regulators in China issued strict new rules, known as Order 27, "governing how food producers and operators — including related third-party computer platform and delivery service providers — store, market and transport their products sold online," said Food Safety News.