Category Archives Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) have announced the first meeting of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and the opening of the public comment period on the development of the updated guidelines. The March 28-29, 2019, meeting is open to the public and is the first of five public meetings the agencies intend to hold.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced an online listening session to hear public input about "a new program to regulate hemp production." The agency's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will host the webinar on March 13, 2019, with registration required by March 11 to speak during the session. "The Secretary of Agriculture and the respective USDA agencies, including AMS, are working to implement the provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill as expeditiously as possible to meet the needs of producers and other stakeholders," the announcement states. "To allow for public input and ensure transparency, it is important to hear from stakeholders regarding their priorities, concerns, and requests."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have announced "a formal agreement to jointly oversee the production of human food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry." The agreement "describes the oversight roles and responsibilities for both agencies and how the agencies will collaborate to regulate the development and entry of these products into commerce," according to a press release. "This shared regulatory approach will ensure that cell-cultured products derived from the cell lines of livestock and poultry are produced safely and are accurately labeled."

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking to identify the poultry-production plants associated with an outbreak of Salmonella. CSPI requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) deliver information on the "name, address, establishment number, and date of positive sample(s)" for poultry products that "tested positive for the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis" in raw chicken and "Salmonella Reading" in raw turkey. "In addition to granting the current FOIA request, which may be done by delivering the data to CSPI directly or posting it on the USDA website, CSPI also requests that the USDA develop a practice for reporting this information publicly in all similar multi-source outbreaks moving forward," the request states.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced public meetings to discuss proposed positions for the United States to take at various Codex Alimentarius Commissions. A meeting on general principles and procedures is scheduled for February 25, 2019, for the March Codex meeting in Bordeaux, France. The U.S. Codex Office will also host a public meeting on April 1, 2019, to discuss positions on contaminants in foods and a public meeting on May 6, 2019, to discuss methods of analysis.

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) has filed a petition recommending that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibit the use of hydroponic agriculture in the cultivation of organic food. "Hydroponic production systems are fundamentally different from organic production systems as defined by federal law—they do not promote soil health or conserve biodiversity," the petition states. "Organic certification of hydroponics thus misleads consumers, because these products are indistinguishable from truly organically produced products with the same label." CFS argues that organic production by definition must include soil, citing the Organic Foods Production Act and noting that the statute and the National Organic Program's final rule implementing it do not include the words "hydroponic" or "soilless." The petition urges USDA to amend existing regulations to expressly prohibit hydroponic systems in organic production and revoke existing organic certifications issued to hydroponic operations.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Agricultural Marketing Service has released the final National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS), which will require food manufacturers, importers and other entities to indicate on a product's label whether it was made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The rule applies to food products in which the predominant ingredient is subject to the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; "[a] multi-ingredient food product that contains broth, stock, water, or similar solution as the first ingredient, and a meat, poultry, or egg product as the second ingredient on the food label would also not be subject to the NBFDS," according to the announcement. The rule takes effect February 19, 2019, and mandatory compliance with the rule begins on January 1, 2022.

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 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…

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have announced a joint public meeting to discuss "the use of cell culture technology to develop products derived from livestock and poultry." The meeting, which will be held October 23-24, 2018, will focus on "the potential hazards, oversight considerations, and labeling" of the product category. Following a conference hosted by the Good Food Institute, cell-based meat brand representatives reportedly agreed to "abandon[] the term 'clean meat' in favor of cell-based meat." "We discussed the pros and cons of the term 'clean meat,' and decided to shift our label to 'cell-based meat,'" a conference attendee reportedly told Food Navigator. "Traditional meat companies can be our biggest ally if they want to work with us. We can help them transition from industrial animal agriculture to cell-based meat. Cell-based meat is a better label to bring them on board."

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