IFT to release functional foods report on March 24
The highly anticipated IFT Expert Report on Functional Foods will be released in a public press conference Wednesday, March 24, at 1:30 p.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The Expert Report focuses on the potential for functional foods; procedures for establishing safety and efficacy; impediments to the development of functional foods, including limitations in the current regulatory framework; advances in new sciences as they relate to functional foods; research needs; and policy recommendations. For the purposes of this report, IFT defines "functional foods" as foods and food components that provide a health benefit beyond basic nutrition (for the intended population). IFT members and Food Technology readers are encouraged to attend the event. A Web simulcast of the press conference is under consideration as further means to keep interested parties informed. Monitor IFT’s Web site at www.ift.org for more information.

Crawford nominated to head FDA
President Bush on February 14 nominated Lester M. Crawford to be Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. Crawford has served as the acting commissioner of the agency since last March. He holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and a Ph.D. in pharmacology and is a food policy expert. In his career, he has served as Chair of the Dept. of Physiology–Pharmacology at the University of Georgia, Administrator of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), Deputy Commissioner of FDA, and Director of the Center for Food and Nutrition Policy at Georgetown University and Virginia Tech. He has also been an advisor to the UN’s World Health Organization.

FDA budget would expand food defense effort
The 2006 fiscal year budget requested by FDA includes an increase of $30.1 million to defend the U.S. food supply from terrorist attacks. FDA’s portion is only part of the food defense effort, which also involves FSIS, the Dept. of Homeland Security, and the White House Homeland Security Council. The total budget authority for items related to food defense has increased by 20% to $180 million from $150 million.

USDA secretary details new budget plans
Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns released details of President Bush’s FY 2006 USDA budget. Total USDA outlays increased from about $72 billion in 2004 to $94.9 billion in 2005 and are projected to remain at roughly $94.6 billion in 2006. The increase from 2004 to 2005 is largely due to higher Commodity Credit Corporation outlays for commodity programs (+$13 billion) and domestic nutrition assistance (+$7 billion).

Niagara viticultural area proposed
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is proposing to establish the "Niagara Escarpment" viticultural area in Niagara County, New York. Viticultural areas allow bottlers to better describe the origin of wines and allow consumers to better identify the wines they may purchase. For more information, see the Federal Register of February 9 (70 FR 6792–6796).

Gum arabic permitted in alcoholic beverages
FDA has amended the food additive regulations to provide for the safe use of acacia (gum arabic) as a thickener, emulsifier, or stabilizer in alcoholic beverages at a maximum use level of 20%, in response to a petition filed by Kerry, Inc. For more information, see the Federal Register of February 17 (70 FR 8032–8034).

FSIS publishes E. coli and Salmonella baseline data
FSIS has published the results of baseline studies that it has conducted on generic Escherichia coli and Salmonella. Although the studies were conducted between 1997 and 2000, FSIS has decided to make the results available because they may assist inspected establishments in assessing their processes. The publication of these baseline results does not affect the current generic E. coli criteria and Salmonella standards listed in the regulations. For more information, see the Federal Register of February 17 (70 FR 8040–8043).

Internet Editor
[email protected]