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GAO: Federal Food-Safety Oversight Needs Better Coordination

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The federal government could be doing more to achieve the goals of the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and other food-safety efforts, according to a 46-page report published Thursday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The amount of food-safety oversight reported by the federal government varies between the nation’s two major food-safety agencies,… Continue Reading

Rancho Co-Owner Will Go To Trial Alone, Three Others Make Plea Deals

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Jury selection will begin July 16, 2015, in the federal criminal conspiracy case involving former Rancho Feeding Corp. co-owner Jesse J. Amaral Jr. The 76-year-old cattle company executive will be tried alone as three others, implicated in the alleged conspiracy to sell for human consumption cattle known to have cancerous eyeballs, have all made deals… Continue Reading

Merger of Two Meat Industry Associations Takes Effect Jan. 1

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The new North American Meat Institute (NAMI) will be born right on schedule come New Year’s Day. NAMI is the product of the merger of the 108-year-old American Meat Institute (AMI) and the North American Meat Association (NAMA), with origins dating back to 1942. The merger combines into one the two large meat industry organizations… Continue Reading

Food-Safety Advocates Applaud Increased FSMA, NARMS Funding

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Food-safety advocates were pleased to see increased funding for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System for Enteric Bacteria (NARMS) in the $1.1-trillion spending bill President Barack Obama signed on Tuesday. The bill provides almost $2.6 billion in discretionary funding for the Food and Drug Administration, including $903 million for… Continue Reading

Three Senators Have Questions for Interagency Antibiotics Task Force

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Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) sent a letter Tuesday to Secretaries Chuck Hagel, Tom Vilsack and Sylvia Burwell, co-chairs of the newly formed Interagency Task Force for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, to ask how this task force will address gaps in how the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently addressing… Continue Reading

Recipe for Better Seafood Safety Opened to Public Comments

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Seafood safety, legal fishing, and proper labeling of fish might all benefit from presidential task force recommendations now open to public comments. Scheduled for publication on Dec. 18 in the Federal Register, the “Recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud” cover four general themes: International: Combat… Continue Reading

Confusion Greets New EU Food-Labeling Rules

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New rules went into effect Dec. 13 throughout the European Union to help people avoid 14 allergens in food by requiring labels, providing information on food allergies and intolerance, and offering voluntary best practices on cross-contamination controls for pre-packed and loose food items. The new rules impact restaurants, bakeries, delis and grocery stores, among others…. Continue Reading

Spending Bill Bans ‘Chinese Chicken’ From Federal Meal Programs

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A provision included in the $1.1-trillion spending bill Congress passed last week and which is now headed to the president’s desk prevents poultry processed in China from being used in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program (Section 736 of Division A). Four Chinese poultry-processing plants have… Continue Reading

Senate Passes $1.1-Trillion Funding Package

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Late Saturday night, the U.S. Senate passed a $1.1-trillion spending package to fund most of the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year. The vote count on the so-called “cromnibus” was a bipartisan 56-40. On Thursday, President Barack Obama stated he would sign the bill despite the administration’s objections to certain riders and… Continue Reading

Funding Package Inches Forward

Senate to debate bill after narrow House passage

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Unsure whether the congressional spending package referred to by many in Washington, D.C., as the “cromnibus” had enough votes to pass, House GOP leaders delayed a final vote Thursday afternoon, but, after 9 p.m., they managed to pass the bill 219-206. In order to keep the government from shutting down while the Senate debates the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act… Continue Reading