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Tom Vilsack

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


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


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

Vilsack: Let WTO Resolve Country-of-Origin Labeling


The fate of mandatory country-of-origin labeling for meat products should be left out of the farm bill and handled by the World Trade Organization, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at an event hosted by POLITICO on Thursday. Country-of-origin labeling (COOL) laws require meat sold in grocery stores to indicate the original source country (or countries)… Continue Reading

Ohio Senator Wants USDA’s Poultry Inspectors Assigned to China; Charges ‘Labeling Gap’


American consumers need USDA “on station” to inspect chicken processing as it occurs in China, and a “labeling gap” is putting U.S. food safety at risk, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) suggests in a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Brown also raised numerous questions with Vilsack about Chinese chicken processors being approved to… Continue Reading

Vilsack, Sebelius Highlight Food Safety in Colorado


U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius joined Colorado governor John Hickenlooper in highlighting food safety during a visit to a Leprino Foods cheese plant in Greeley, Colorado late last week, according to a local press report. The Greeley Tribune reported that the visit recognized the facility as… Continue Reading

Letter From The Editor: End to a Historic Coalition?



When I last commented on the Farm Bill, I said by holding it over an extra year it had gone on longer than the Korean War and I did not want to hear about it until it was over and done with. I did not know then that before it was over, House Republican leadership… Continue Reading

House Sinks Farm Bill That Could Have Further Delayed FSMA


Surprising many, the House on Thursday failed to pass its version of the farm bill taking down with it a $20 billion food stamp cuts and a provision that could have further delayed the implementation of Food Safety Modernization Act. Late Wednesday night, the House had agreed by voice vote to add an amendment by… Continue Reading

Vilsack Promises to Grow U.S. Organic Industry


At its recent policy conference in Washington, D.C., the Organic Trade Association (OTA) heard from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack about the future of organic farming. Vilsack told OTA members that he views organic as “its own separate commodity,” and he is committed to treating it that way.  He wants to increase coverage options for… Continue Reading

Secretary Vilsack Says Another Option Needed for Unwanted Horses


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told reporters Wednesday Congress should come up with a better solution for handling unwanted horses than slaughtering the animals for meat for human consumption. His comments came as USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has five at least partially completed applications to slaughter horses for human consumption, probably only… Continue Reading

Vilsack: Under Sequestration, USDA Cannot Avoid Furloughing Meat Inspectors


Under the sequester, which recently put in place across-the-board budget cuts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has no choice but to eventually furlough meat inspectors, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack again said on Friday.  The statement comes after some lawmakers and industry groups questioned whether USDA needed to furlough inspectors and argued that the department had… Continue Reading