Category Archives Legislation, Regulations and Standards

Oklahoma’s Board of Health has unanimously approved recommendations from the state’s Medical Marijuana Food Safety Standards Board on health and safety requirements for producing cannabis-infused foods, according to Tulsa World. The standards incorporate existing state food regulations but will add stricter criteria and tests, including testing for cannabinoid potency, heavy-metals levels and chemical residues.

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has declined to take action against Bacardi-Martini Ltd. following a complaint that its television ad “was irresponsible because it encouraged immoderate drinking by implying that drinking should take place before and throughout a night out.” In its determination, ASA found that “a sealed bottle of Bacardi rum was shown on several occasions but none of the characters in the ad were shown actually serving or drinking the rum” until the group of characters reaches a bar. “The implication was that the group would drink some of the alcohol during their night out, but we noted that none of the characters shown in the ad seemed to be dancing, moving, or otherwise interacting with each other in a way suggestive of intoxication or excessive alcohol consumption at any point, including in the final scenes,” ASA ruled. “For those reasons we concluded that the ad did…

A Los Angeles councilperson has reportedly introduced a motion that would require entertainment venues and other establishments to offer at least one “vegan protein option” in an effort to combat climate change. The motion cites “several studies which suggest a link between the meat and dairy industry and the environment, including a University of Oxford study that found if more people in the United States adopted plant-based eating it could cut greenhouse-gas emissions from food sources by 70 percent,” according to CBS Los Angeles. The proposal would hold city departments accountable for offering vegan options at city-operated venues such as zoos and parks.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has released an opinion proposing a revision to tolerable intakes of per- and polyfluoroalykl substances (PFAS), which food packaging can contain. The authors reportedly observed high levels of PFAS in “meat and meat products” as well as “fish and other seafood.” In addition, PFAS was “detected in blood samples of almost all individuals assessed, demonstrating ubiquitous exposure.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has reallocated responsibilities between its agencies, resulting in the elimination of the Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). The Agricultural Marketing Service will absorb GIPSA's previous responsibilities as well as some program areas formerly overseen by the Farm Service Agency. The rule took effect November 29, 2018, finalizing changes initially announced in September 2017.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued a scientific opinion on "the occurrence and control of three parasites that may be transmitted via food, namely Cryptosporidium spp., Toxoplasma gondii, and Echinococcus spp.," which cause the diseases "cryptosporidiosis, toxoplasmosis, and alveolar echinococcosis (AE) and cystic echinococcosis (CE), respectively." EFSA identified "many gaps in our knowledge of food‐borne transmission of the three parasites" but suggested that "consumer preferences for raw, fresh produce may contribute to increasing the likelihood of infection." EFSA further noted that commercial washing of fresh produce, "particularly with the reuse of washwater, may spread localised contamination throughout a batch," resulting in contamination of ready-to-eat produce. EFSA also researched the prevalence of contamination in meat, finding that "consumer preferences for animals raised with access to outdoor conditions, for not freezing meat prior to consumption, and for eating meat raw or rare may increase the likelihood of exposure to infective…

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have announced after "several thoughtful discussions" that both agencies "should jointly oversee the production of cell-cultured food products derived from livestock and poultry." The agencies' statement announces a "joint regulatory framework wherein FDA oversees cell collection, cell banks, and cell growth and differentiation" that will transition "during the cell harvest stage" to USDA, which "will then oversee the production and labeling of food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry." "This regulatory framework will leverage both the FDA’s experience regulating cell-culture technology and living biosystems and the USDA’s expertise in regulating livestock and poultry products for human consumption," the announcement concludes. "USDA and FDA are confident that this regulatory framework can be successfully implemented and assure the safety of these products. Because our agencies have the statutory authority necessary to appropriately regulate cell-cultured food products derived…

California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has proposed changes that aim to clarify the exposure-warning requirements of the state's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop. 65). The proposed changes amend the section of Prop. 65 requiring manufacturers to notify retailers or intermediaries about products that may cause exposure to a chemical listed under the act. Comments on the changes will be accepted until December 31, 2018.

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has announced a meeting to be held April 24-26, 2019, that will include a discussion and vote on recommendations for updates to U.S. organic standards. The deadline to submit written comments is April 4, 2019, with the same deadline applying to those who intend to provide oral comments at the meeting in person or via webinar.

The European Commission has issued a report on antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance that includes a section on Europeans' "attitudes towards the use of antibiotics on sick animals, and their awareness of the ban on using antibiotics to stimulate growth in farm animals." The report states that 56 percent of respondents believed that sick animals should be given antibiotics, while 35 percent told researchers that sick animals should not be treated with antibiotics. The majority of respondents—58 percent—did not know that the use of antibiotics to stimulate growth in farm animals is banned in the EU, which represents a drop by two percentage points since the same question was asked in a 2016 study.