James Giese

USDA outlines regulatory agenda
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has outlined its semiannual regulatory agenda. For more information, see the Federal Register of Dec. 13, 2004 (69 FR 72892-72972).

FSIS sets labeling compliance date
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has set Jan. 1, 2008, as the uniform compliance date for new food labeling regulations that are issued between Jan. 1, 2005, and Dec. 31, 2006. FSIS is establishing a uniform compliance date to minimize the economic impact of labeling changes. For more information, see the Federal Register of Dec. 14, 2004 (69 FR 74405-74407).

FDA issues regulations on food bioterror records
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued final regulations on the establishment and maintenance of records to protect the U.S. human food and animal feed supply in the event of credible threats of serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals. FDA also issued draft guidance to FDA staff and industry, which details the internal procedures to follow before requesting access to records. For more information, see the Federal Register of Dec. 9, 2004 (69 FR 71561-71655).

FDA finds rocket fuel chemical in food supply
The FDA has found traces of perchlorate, a rocket fuel chemical, in organic milk in Maryland, green leaf lettuce grown in Arizona and bottled spring water from Texas and California. The significance of this data is not yet clear. The FDA has advised consumers not to change their eating habits in response to the test results. For more information, see www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/clo4qa.html.

FDA posts new guide on GM plant safety testing
To address the possibility that material from a new plant variety intended for food use might inadvertently enter the food supply before its sponsor has fully consulted with the FDA, the agency announced the availability of a draft guidance document entitled “Guidance for Industry: Recommendations for the Early Food Safety Evaluation of New Non-Pesticidal Proteins Produced by New Plant Varieties Intended for Food Use.” This guidance discusses the early food safety evaluation of new proteins in new plant varieties, particularly in new bioengineered varieties that are under development for possible use as food for humans or animals. It also describes procedures for communicating with FDA about this evaluation.

Sterigenics petitions for irradiation change
The FDA announced that Sterigenics International, Inc., Corona, Calif., has filed a petition proposing that the food additive regulations be amended to provide for the safe use of ionizing radiation in the production of shelf-stable foods, including multiple ingredient shelf-stable foods. For more information, see the Federal Register of Nov. 30, 2004 (69 FR 69606).

New wine region in Oregon
The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau established the Yamhill-Carlton District viticultural area in Yamhill and Washington Counties, Oregon. The new Yamhill-Carlton District viticultural area is entirely within the existing Willamette Valley viticultural area. Viticultural areas are designated to allow vintners to better describe the origin of their wines and to allow consumers to better identify wines they may purchase. For more information, see the Federal Register of Dec. 9, 2004 (69 FR 71372-71375).

FAO says world hunger rises
The number of hungry people in the world has risen slightly in the eight years since nations pledged to cut the number in half by 2015, a U.N. agency said on Dec. 8, 2004. With the number of hungry people in the world rising to 852 million in 2000-2002, up by 18 million from the mid-1990s, the human and economic costs of hunger will only increase if the trend is not reversed. The total includes 815 million hungry people in the developing countries, 28 million in the countries in transition and 9 million in the industrialized countries.

by JAMES GIESE
Internet Editor
[email protected]