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Tom Vilsack

Letter From the Editor: Agriculture’s Most Popular Man

Opinion

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I spent a couple of hours last week watching Thomas James (Tom) Vilsack wrap the House Education and Workforce Committee around his little finger. It came on his 2,338th day as United States Secretary of Agriculture. He is the boss of 85,000 USDA employees. Those who promote the narratives for such events said the Secretary… Continue Reading

A Look Back at Food Safety During Obama’s First Six Years

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Since the Obama administration took over the executive branch more than six years ago, foodborne illnesses from meat, poultry and eggs — products regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture — has been falling. In fact, just from fiscal year 2013 to 2014, illnesses from meat and poultry has fallen by 10 percent, according to… Continue Reading

Letter From the Editor: How to Live Long and Prosper

Opinion

Mr. Spock

We don’t do enough on the role of technology in food and in advancing food safety. Just like the overall economy, new technologies in food and food safety are driving down costs and delivering greater efficiencies. I was planning on writing about this even before we lost actor-director Leonard Nimoy last week at the age… Continue Reading

USDA May Move Mechanically Tenderized Beef Labeling to 2016

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While appearing before the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said USDA will work to introduce labels for mechanically tenderized beef within the next two years. New labeling laws are implemented in two-year increments so that new label rules made in 2013 or 2014 will be implemented on Jan. 1, 2016. When the… Continue Reading

Judge Dismisses Challenge to USDA Poultry Inspection Rule

Ruling says Food & Water Watch lacks standing

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Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has dismissed a lawsuit Food & Water Watch Inc. and two of its members filed last fall against U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to challenge the agency’s New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS). The language the judge used in her ruling issued… Continue Reading

Food Safety News Hands Santa Nice List Nominees for 2014

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Merry Christmas! Whether today finds you celebrating the birth of Christ, the Winter Solstice, or about to observe Kwanzaa, the one thing everyone can agree on is that we need more nice people in this world. Food Safety News is pleased to present our sixth-annual nominations for Santa’s nice list. As we did during the… 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

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