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Agricultural biotechnology advisory committee established
Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman on Jan. 21 named 38 members to a newly formed USDA Advisory Committee on Agricultural Biotechnology. The committee will advise the Secretary on policy related to the creation, application, marketability, trade, and use of agricultural biotechnology. The committee, authorized for two years, will hold its first meeting on March 29–30 in Washington, D.C. The meeting is open to the public.
FDA Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling and Dietary Supplements formed
The Food and Drug Administration on Jan. 18 announced the merger of the Office of Food Labeling and the Office of Special Nutritionals into a new Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling and Dietary Supplements (ONPLDS). The new office, headed by FDA Acting Director Christine Lewis, has been developed to maximize the resources in the two offices to improve the way FDA performs related functions such as health claims and overlapping labeling issues. The reorganization is designed to further enhance FDA’s science-based approach to addressing dietary supplement and food labeling issues.
Meat and poultry irradiation rule corrected
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued a technical correction to its Dec. 23, 1999, final rule (64 FR 72150) permitting irradiation of raw meat and poultry products. The correction relates to the amendatory instructions for consolidating the meat and poultry regulations to make those for poultry products consistent with those for meat products. Details are in the Federal Register of Jan. 14 (65 FR 2284–2285). For more information, contact D.L. Engeljohn at USDA/FSIS, Washington, DC 20250 (phone 202-720-5627).
Flavor enhancer levels in meat and poultry products increased
FSIS, in response to petitions submitted by Armour Swift-Ekrich and Purac America, Inc., has increased the permissible levels of sodium acetate as a flavor enhancer in meat and poultry products and of sodium diacetate as a flavor enhancer and as a pathogen growth inhibitor. FSIS is also allowing use of sodium lactate and potassium lactate in meat and poultry products, except infant formulas and infant food, to inhibit the growth of certain pathogens. Details are in the Federal Register of Jan. 20 (65 FR 3121–3123) For more information, contact R. Post at USDA/FSIS, Washington, DC 20250-3700 (phone 202-205-0279).
Deadline for information on dietary supplement labeling claims extended
FDA has extended until April 3 the deadline for submission of scientific data, research study results, and other related information on four substance–disease relationships, so that it can determine whether to authorize health claims for these relationships in dietary supplement labeling. The claims are “Consumption of antioxidant vitamins may reduce the risk of certain kinds of cancer,’’ “Consumption of fiber may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer,’’ “Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease,’’ and “0.8 mg of folic acid in a dietary supplement is more effective in reducing the risk of neural tube defects than a lower amount in foods in common form.’’ Details are in the Federal Register of Jan. 26 (65 FR 4252–4253). For more information, contact C.J. Lewis at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-205-4168).
Input on yields for child nutrition food buying guide sought
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service has begun posting proposed yields for the Healthy School Meals Resource System at http://schoolmeals.nal.usda.gov:8001. The yields are for new foods to be included in the next revision of the “Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs’’ and for currently listed foods reexamined using the most current appropriate food testing technology. Deadline for comments is April 15. Details are in the Federal Register of Jan. 5 and 27 (65 FR 436–437 and 4403). For more information, contact J. Fabina at USDA/FNS, 3101 Park Center Dr., Alexandria, VA 22302 (phone 703-305-2621).
Petitions submitted to FDA
Alcide Corp. has asked FDA to allow use of acidified sodium chlorite solutions as an antimicrobial agent on poultry carcass parts. Details are in the Federal Register of Jan. 6 (65 FR 782). For more information, contact R.L. Martin at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-418-3074). NFPA has asked FDA to allow use of calcium disodium EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetate) or disodium EDTA to promote color retention for all edible types of cooked, canned legumes. Details are in the Federal Register of Jan. 20 (65 FR 3242). For more information, contact M.E. LaVecchia (phone 202-418-3072). Cultor Food Science, Inc., DSM Food Specialties, and Protein Technologies International have asked FDA to allow use of natamycin on cheese. Details are in the Federal Register of Jan. 24 (65 FR 3719). For more information, contact F. Binion Williams (phone 202-418-3122).
by NEIL H. MERMELSTEIN