regulations

Prudent regulation, national registry sought for gene-edited products

With gene-edited products nearing the marketplace, six major consumer and conservation groups called on Wednesday for "effective, science-based government regulation" of the sector, including a national registry of gene-edited plants and animals. By contrast, they said, the USDA has "substantially deregulated gene-edited plants and proposed a similarly minimal oversight system for gene-edited animals."

Biden regulatory freeze halts USDA pandemic payments

As part of a government-wide regulatory freeze, the Biden administration has suspended payments while it reviews the $3 billion in pandemic aid to agricultural producers that was announced in the final week of the Trump administration, said the USDA on Thursday.

USDA withdraws proposals on poultry plant line speeds and SNAP

As part of the regulatory freeze announced by President Biden, the USDA withdrew proposed regulations that would have allowed much faster line speeds at poultry slaughter plants and would have ended SNAP benefits for 3.1 million people by tightening eligibility rules. They were among seven USDA …

Shea is acting chief of USDA; Biden freezes regulations

Kevin Shea, a longtime USDA official, became acting agriculture secretary with the arrival of the Biden administration on Wednesday, said a USDA spokesman amid the appointment of several new officials. The White House also announced a freeze on new federal regulations.

California begins work to ban pesticide that EPA still allows

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation said on Wednesday that it is sending notices to pesticide makers that it will cancel registration of chlorpyrifos in the state because of “detrimental human health effects associated with the products’ use.”

USDA biotech rules nearing update, says undersecretary

The USDA soon will propose a modernized regulatory framework for agricultural biotechnology, said Undersecretary Greg Ibach on Monday, the third attempt since 2008 to overhaul rules that were written at the dawn of genetic engineering. Ibach told a farm conference that he could not discuss the …

State regulators call for early cutoff date for dicamba use

Many states have reported significant complaints from farmers about dicamba damage to their crops and plants, said an association of state pesticide regulators in calling for the EPA to tighten its rules on use of the weedkiller.

Industry proposal: USDA and FDA should share oversight of ‘cell-based’ meat

The U.S. meat industry and nascent competitor Memphis Meats agreed on a standard name — “cell-based meat and poultry” — for food produced from lab-cultured animal cells on Thursday and proposed joint FDA and USDA regulation of cell-based meat.

As a dairy scandal settles, a fight in Oregon about the future of farming

A scandal involving Lost Valley, Oregon’s second-largest dairy, illuminates a broader debate in the state: whether or not it should welcome more industrial, large-scale farming operations, and particularly large-scale dairies. No paywall

USDA may revamp food stamp time limits for able-bodied adults

When Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said this week that food stamps should not be “a permanent lifestyle” for able-bodied adults without dependents, he may have hinted at a forthcoming USDA proposal.

USDA will try again on update of biotechnology regulations

For the third time in a decade, the USDA is starting anew on modernizing its regulation of biotech plants. As part of the effort, the agency ditched a proposal that would have covered genome-editing techniques if the products created posed a plant pest or noxious weed risk.

Monsanto halts sale of new pesticide after skin complaints

After users complained of skin irritation, including rashes, Monsanto is delaying until further notice the launch of NemaStrike — a new farm chemical used to kill worms on corn, soybeans and cotton. “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did extensive evaluations of the product before approving it for use, according to Monsanto, which has described NemaStrike as ‘blockbuster technology,’” reports Reuters. Monsanto argues that some of its field testers may have been using the spray incorrectly or not wearing the proper protection.

Enviros worry EPA will dismiss science showing pyrethroids’ risk to kids

On the heels of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s eleventh-hour reversal last March of an Obama-era ban on chlorpyrifos — an insecticide that can permanently damage a child’s developing brain, according to the EPA’s own scientists — the agency is evaluating yet another family of controversial pesticides possibly linked to attention deficit disorders, cognitive problems, and autism.

Pruitt says EPA will no longer settle with green groups behind doors

EPA chief Scott Pruitt says the agency will no longer settle lawsuits with environmental groups behind closed doors, arguing that the Obama administration regularly excluded industry and state governments from those conversations while pandering to green activists.

Massachusetts bakery gets no love from FDA

In a letter released Tuesday, the FDA instructed the Nashoba Brook Bakery in West Concord, Mass., that it needed to remove "love" from the list of ingredients for its granola, Bloomberg reports. “Your Nashoba Granola label lists ingredient ‘Love,’” the agency wrote in the letter, which was dated Sept. 22. “‘Love’ is not a common or usual name of an ingredient, and is considered to be intervening material because it is not part of the common or usual name of the ingredient.”

Monsanto no longer allowed at European parliament

Monsanto has been banned from attending European parliament proceedings after the corporation refused to appear for a parliamentary hearing, slated for October 11, to investigate regulatory interference. Monsanto is accused of influencing studies on the safety of the glyphosate, the primary ingredient in the company’s weedkiller Roundup.

Zinke says 30 percent of Interior workers aren’t loyal to Trump

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he took over the 70,000-person department certain that “I got 30 percent of the crew that’s not loyal to the flag,” meaning President Trump and his agenda, reported the Associated Press. Zinke said he’s pursuing a major reorganization that would move much of the department’s decision making outside of Washington in an effort to break up entrenched attitudes.

Head of USDA’s National Organic Program steps down

Miles McEvoy, deputy administrator for the National Organic Program at the USDA, said he was stepping down Sept. 30 after eight years in the position, and moving back to his home state of Washington while he considers new opportunities.

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