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Food Safety News

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Tom Vilsack

Vilsack: No Regulatory Fix for COOL

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Last weekend, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told the 2014 National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) convention that there is no regulatory fix for country-of-origin labeling (COOL). After the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ruling in favor of Canada and Mexico in an ongoing dispute with the U.S. over COOL, a team at the Department of… Continue Reading

GAO: USDA Needs to Tighten Up Salmonella and Campylobacter Standards for Poultry

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The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is recommending that the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) take action to reduce pathogen contamination on chicken and turkey products, make sure that agency food-safety standards are being met, and better assess whether on-farm practices are effective in reducing pathogens in live poultry. In a… Continue Reading

Reactions Vary to USDA’s Poultry Inspection Rule

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture published the final rule of its Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection on Thursday, requiring all poultry processing plants to engage in additional microbiological testing and establishing the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS), which companies can choose to opt into or not. Predictably, the agency’s move drew reactions from across the spectrum…. Continue Reading

FSIS Poultry Rule Requires More Pathogen Testing, Introduces Voluntary Inspection System

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The new poultry inspection rule announced today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires additional microbiological testing at all poultry processing facilities and introduces a fifth inspection system available for U.S. plants to voluntarily adopt. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called the rule a “longstanding effort” to “modernize our system” and said the agency is confident… Continue Reading

Consumer Group Again Calls on FSIS to Address Food Safety Inspector Shortages

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Food & Water Watch (FWW) continues to prod the U.S. Department of Agriculture about shortages of food safety inspectors. In a letter sent to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday, FWW Executive Director Wenonah Hauter cited incidents of understaffing in the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which she said “directly contradict” agency testimony before… Continue Reading

Lawsuit Seeks USDA Response to Salmonella as Adulterant Petition

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On the third anniversary of filing a petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to have antibiotic-resistant Salmonella declared an adulterant, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is still waiting for a response. On Wednesday, the consumer advocate group filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia… Continue Reading

FSIS Drafting Campylobacter Performance Standards for Chicken Parts

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is planning to release new safety standards for Campylobacter in poultry, in addition to the Salmonella performance standard already in the works. Both are expected to be finalized by the end of the current fiscal year. “The Agency is developing a performance standard for… Continue Reading

Letter From the Editor: Time to Name Next Star as Under Secretary for Food Safety

Opinion

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Brian Ronholm is currently the acting under secretary for food safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Before going over to USDA, Ronholm was an appropriations staffer for liberal Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). DeLauro, who fires critical press releases at food regulators like my fourth-grade class did with spitballs, certainly has not held back on… Continue Reading

USDA ‘Confident’ About COOL at WTO, Congress May Want a Backup Plan

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Members of Congress are feeling antsy about the World Trade Organization decision on country of origin labeling (COOL) expected this summer. During a House budget hearing on Wednesday, Edward Avalos, the Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, responded to questions about the case. U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS)… Continue Reading

68 Members of Congress Ask Vilsack to Withdraw Poultry Inspection Rule

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A bipartisan group of 68 members of Congress wrote to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday, asking him to suspend action on the proposed Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection rule, which is based on the HACCP-Based Inspection Models Project (HIMP). “While we strongly support modernizing our food safety system and making it… Continue Reading