Public Meetings, Congressional Hearings, Calls for Comments

FOOD & AGRICULTURE

  • The Food and Drug and Administration (FDA) has committed to publish final versions of the FSMA produce safety and preventive controls rule for food facilities next year. Read More
  • Fifteen members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on Friday with questions about the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS). Read More
  • A federal appeals court gave signals Syngenta Seeds may be able to proceed with a lawsuit against Bunge North America. Read More
  • Food Stamp recipients in several states may face  tighter restrictions as state agencies start ensuring work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents. Read More
  • The U.S. Government Accountability Office is recommending that the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service take action to reduce pathogen contamination on chicken and turkey products. Read More
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has agreed to finalize its rule for the process of determining food substances as "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS). Read More
  •  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is investing $4.9 million in 50 projects across the country to support small and emerging rural businesses and rural transportation projects. Read More
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded more than $18 million in grants to small businesses for high quality, advanced research and development that will lead to technological innovations and solutions for American agriculture. Read More
  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $190.5 million in grants and loans to make broadband and other advanced communications infrastructure improvements in rural areas.Read More
  • USDA announced the implementation of a new Farm Bill initiative that will provide relief to farmers affected by severe weather, including drought, to allow eligible producers who have been hit with severe weather to receive a higher approved yield on their insurance policies through the federal crop insurance program. Read More
  • The 10 largest soybean growing states collectively produced a record 775 million bushels of the crop this year, bringing supplies to market weeks ahead of growers in the Eastern Corn Belt where harvest is delayed due to wet weather. Read More
  • Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new state-by-state, "Made in Rural America" report illustrating the impact of USDA investments in rural communities. Read More
  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is providing more than $352 million in loans and grants to upgrade rural water and wastewater systems nationwide and make infrastructure improvements in rural Alaska villages. Read More
  • A new study by researchers at the University of Missouri reveals that people who used hand sanitizers, handled cash-register receipts and then ate French fries were quickly exposed to high levels of bisphenol A (BPA). Read More
  • The Center for Food Safety filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) challenging the approval of Dow Chemical's Enlist Duo herbicide, a blend of 2,4-D and glyphosate. Read More
  •  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requesting public comment on a proposal to remove 72 chemicals from its list of substances approved for use as inert ingredients in pesticide products. Read More

TRADE & INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURE NEWS

  • The World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled in favor of Canada and Mexico in an ongoing dispute with the United States over country-of-origin labeling (COOL) on meat. Read More
  • Australia's government is looking at investing in nearly 30 irrigation schemes and a long-stalled dam building to combat growing water shortages constraining agricultural production. Read More
  • The largest U.S. grain harvest in history has pushed prices to four-year lows. Read More
  • Indonesia's new president Joko Widodo said on Monday that he wanted the Southeast Asian nation to be self-sufficient in food staples sugar, rice and corn within four years. Read More
  • Environment Secretary Liz Truss has said large-scale solar farms are "a blight on the landscape" and confirmed plans to cut a taxpayer subsidy to farmers and landowners for the schemes. Read More
  • The EU's decision to ban the use of some pesticides could threaten UK crops, increase food prices and hit farmers' profits, a report has claimed. Read More
  • The majority of soy exporting firms in Brazil have still not agreed to collect royalties for Monsanto Co, threatening sales of up to a quarter of the country's soy crop. Read More
  • Ukraine has complained to the World Trade Organization (WTO) about a decision by Russia to ban imports of fruit and vegetables from the country, the agriculture ministry said on Thursday. Read More
  • Cancellations from one of Asia's fastest growing feed grain markets could further drag on global corn and soymeal prices, which have plunged 25-35 percent in the past three months. Read More

WHITE HOUSE

CONGRESS 

  • The GAO reports that over a three-year period ending in September 2013, more than 57,000 federal employees facing discipliary action were placed on paid administrative leave for  month or more - at a cost of more than $775 million in salary.
  • In a letter to the president, 16 members of the Republican Doctors Caucus pressed for a travel ban for  Guinea, Liberia, an Sierra Leone, despite acknowledging that tighter controls could hinder efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak.
  • FBI Director James Comey maintains that new legislation is required to aid law enforcement in its pursuit of criminals who are using encryption to hide incriminating evidence, but Congress appears unlikely to force technology companies to build backdoors into their networks and devices in the near future.

POLITICS

  

BUDGET, ECONOMY & FINANCE

FOREIGN AFFAIRS & DEFENSE

HEALTH CARE

OTHER ITEMS
November 7, 2014
US DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES & US DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Announcement of the Sixth 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Meeting
SUMMARY:  As stipulated by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is hereby giving notice that a meeting of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) will be held and will be open to the public by Internet access only.
Link: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/10/20/2014-24850/announcement-of-the-sixth-2015-dietary-guidelines-advisory-committee-meeting

November 14, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS;
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Definition of ``Waters of the United States'' Under the Clean
Water Act Proposed Rule; Notice of Availability

SUMMARY: This document announces the availability of the Science Advisory Board's (SAB) final peer review of the EPA's draft report Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis. This document has been placed in the docket for the EPA and the Corps proposed rule ``Definition of `Waters of the United States' Under the Clean Water Act.''
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-10-24/html/2014-25138.htm 

January 20, 2015
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Food and Nutrition Service
Requirements for the Distribution and Control of Donated Foods 
SUMMARY: This rule proposes to revise and clarify requirements to ensure that USDA donated foods are distributed, stored, and managed in the safest, most efficient, and cost-effective manner, at State and recipient agency levels. The rule would also reduce administrative and reporting requirements for State distributing agencies, revise or clarify regulatory provisions relating to accountability for donated foods, and rewrite much of the regulations in a more user-friendly, ``plain language,'' format. Lastly, the rule proposes to revise and clarify specific requirements to conform more closely to related requirements elsewhere in the Code of Federal Regulations. In formulating the proposals, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has utilized input received from program administrators, industry representatives, and other organizations at national conferences and other meetings, and through email or other routine communications with such parties. 
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-10-22/html/2014-24613.htm 

October 23, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Agricultural Marketing Service 
Transportation and Marketing Program: Notice of Guidance
Regarding the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, Multi-State Project Competition
SUMMARY: The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing the availability of a guidance document intended for use by State departments of agriculture entitled: Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, Multi-State Project Competition. This guidance document is intended to inform the public of the Transportation Marketing Program's (TM) current thinking on this topic and will be used to develop a Request for Applications (RFA).
Link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-10-23/html/2014-25270.htm  

November 13, 2014            
Food and Drug Administration, HHS
Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act;
Public Meeting

SUMMARY: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing a public meeting to discuss proposed revisions to four rules originally proposed in 2013 to implement the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
 

Call for Comments

IFT calls for comments on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  For details please refer to http://www.ift.org/public-policy-and-regulations/advocacy/ift-comments/call-for-comments.aspx.