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USDA Issues New Regulation Creating the Domestic Hemp Production Program


USDA Issues New Regulation Creating the Domestic Hemp Production Program

On October 31, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture published a new regulation establishing the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program. A requirement of the 2018 Farm Bill, this new program creates a comprehensive regulatory framework through which the USDA can approve plans submitted by States and Indian Tribes for the domestic production of hemp. It also establishes a Federal plan for hemp producers in States or territories of Indian tribes that do not have their own USDA-approved plan.

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New York and Michigan Ban Flavored E-Cigarette and Vape Products


New York and Michigan Ban Flavored E-Cigarette and Vape Products

This week both Michigan and New York banned the sale and distribution of flavored electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products which are often referred to as e-cigarettes or vape products. Both bans were championed by the state governors as a way to keep these products out of the hands of minors. Because the bans are a result of the adoption of emergency rules, the bans are effective immediately. However, both states have indicated they will have a limited period of enforcement discretion to allow impacted industry members to come in to compliance with the new requirements. Below is a brief summary of state flavored ENDS product bans.

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What Farmers Need to Know About "Prevented Planting" This Season


What Farmers Need to Know About "Prevented Planting" This Season

Extraordinary catastrophic weather has afflicted several of America’s most important agricultural states. Since March of this year, heavy snow and rain have brought record flooding to the Midwest, stalling farmers' fieldwork and slowing shipments across a wide swath of the Farm Belt From Iowa and Iowa through Kansas and Nebraska to Minnesota and South Dakota. Florida and the Southeastern growing states are still working to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Michael, even as Hurricane Season has resumed for 2019.

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Where Does the Law Stand on Producing Foods and Beverages Containing Cannabidiol (CBD)?


Where Does the Law Stand on Producing Foods and Beverages Containing Cannabidiol (CBD)?

In his April 2, 2019 press release, then-FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., confirmed the agency’s position that passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill) and its removal of “hemp” from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act did not disturb the FDA’s current authority to regulate products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and section 351 of the Public Health Service Act. In essence, the FDA retains authority to regulate foods, beverages and health products containing cannabis or derivative products such as cannabidiol (CBD).

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FSIS Reforms to Include Removal of Dual Labeling Requirements for Certain Quantities of Meat and Poultry Products


FSIS Reforms to Include Removal of Dual Labeling Requirements for Certain Quantities of Meat and Poultry Products

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) announced on April 16, 2019, that it the agency is proposing to amend labeling regulations to remove duplicative net weight and net content requirements for packages that contain certain quantities of meat or poultry products. The proposed regulation would apply to products in quantities of at least one pound or one pint, but less than four pounds or one gallon.

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Congress Agrees on a 2018 Farm Bill


Congress Agrees on a 2018 Farm Bill

The 2018 Farm Bill Committee leaders in Congress have released a final bill. If passed and signed into law by President Trump, the bill will better connect beginning and socially disadvantaged producers with the tools and resources they need to start and sustain vibrant food and farm businesses. It would also help both established and beginning farmers to tap growing markets by providing permanent, mandatory funding for local and regional food production and organic research.

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USDA Alert - Last Chance to Answer Agriculture Census


USDA Alert - Last Chance to Answer Agriculture Census

The USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service will end its data collection for the 2017 Census of Agriculture on July 31, 2018. Anyone who received the Census questionnaire is required by law to respond by that date. The same law that requires response – Federal law, Title 7 USC 2204(g) Public Law 105-113 – also requires NASS to keep all information confidential, to use the data only for statistical purposes, and to only publish data in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation.

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Salmonella Risks Resurface as Fresh Cut Melon Products Recalled


Salmonella Risks Resurface as Fresh Cut Melon Products Recalled

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a major recall of pre-cut melons produced by Caito Foods from April 17 to June 7, 2018, due to a risk that the fruits contain Salmonella.

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Taking Food Certification to the Next Level: From "Organic" to "Regenerative Organic"


Taking Food Certification to the Next Level: From "Organic" to "Regenerative Organic"

The growing social acceptance of “organic” as an integral component of America’s food supply is undeniable. Organic food sales in the United States increased by 8.4% during the calendar year 2016 to reach $43 billion, marking the first time sales surpassed $40 billion, according to the Organic Trade Association's industry survey, released on May 24, 2017. The 8.4% jump contrasted to an increase of only 0.6% in overall U.S. food market sales. Moreover, organic fruits and vegetables, the largest organic food category, accounted for nearly 40% of all organic food sales, rising 8.4% to $15.6 billion in 2016. Organic fruit and vegetables made up almost 15% of the produce that Americans consumed in 2016. Sales of organic meat and poultry rose more than 17% in 2016, to $991 million in 2016. Organic dips and organic spices, although still smaller categories, recorded double-digit jumps in sales; organic dip sales increased 41% to $57 million, and organic spice sales increased 35% to $193 million.

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SNAP vs. America’s Harvest Boxes: A Battle to Safeguard Food Security in the United States


SNAP vs. America’s Harvest Boxes: A Battle to Safeguard Food Security in the United States

To ensure an accurate representation of the agriculture industry in this country, the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has extended the 2017 Census of Agriculture response deadline through spring. This survey is directed to all farmers and ranchers across the United States

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America's Farmers & Ranchers: The 2017 Agriculture Census Needs Your Input


America's Farmers & Ranchers: The 2017 Agriculture Census Needs Your Input

To ensure an accurate representation of the agriculture industry in this country, the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has extended the 2017 Census of Agriculture response deadline through spring. This survey is directed to all farmers and ranchers across the United States

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Bumble Bee Foods Consents to Relabeling Smoked Salmon Products in Order to Avoid Class Action Lawsuit


Bumble Bee Foods Consents to Relabeling Smoked Salmon Products in Order to Avoid Class Action Lawsuit

On February 1, 2018, Bumble Bee Foods, LLC agreed to repackage its canned salmon filets to end a proposed class action in California federal court. In the case of Miguel Rodriguez et al. v. Bumble Bee Foods LLC, case number 3:17-cv-02447 (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California), the plaintiff was a consumer accusing Bumble Bee of misrepresenting that its canned salmon was smoked and wild-caught, when in fact the fish was farm-raised and processed using added liquid smoke flavoring. The plaintiff sought class action status on behalf of all similarly-situated consumers of Bumble Bee’s canned Premium Select Medium Red Smoked Salmon Filets in Oil.

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Congress Launches the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act of 2018


Congress Launches the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act of 2018

A bi-partisan group of Congressional leaders in both the House of Representatives and the Senate introduced the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act of 2018 on January 25, 2018. If enacted into law, the new legislation would facilitate the use of Internet and satellite technologies to enhance farming productivity across the United States.

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Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Infections Could Be Linked To Romaine Lettuce


Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Infections Could Be Linked To Romaine Lettuce

Starting in November of 2017, reports began surfacing about a new outbreak of food-borne illness in parts of the United States and Canada. In the ensuing two months, more than fifty people across North America have become ill from a dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria. Canadian health officials believe the cause may be romaine lettuce infected with a virulent strain of E Coli bacteria.

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Fruits And Vegetables With Higher Potassium Levels May Help Reduce Arterial Sclerosis And Calcification


Fruits And Vegetables With Higher Potassium Levels May Help Reduce Arterial Sclerosis And Calcification

Scientists publishing a new study in the journal JCI Insight have concluded that high-potassium foods such as avocados and bananas protect the arteries against hardening or calcification. Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that increased potassium consumption protects against atherosclerosis, vascular calcification and aortic stiffness, or the hardening of the heart's arteries.

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Initial Congressional "Listening Session" For 2018 Farm Bill Scheduled for Florida


Initial Congressional "Listening Session" For 2018 Farm Bill Scheduled for Florida

The Agriculture Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives announced the first of several committee activities across the country intended to stimulate conversation and gather input from farmers, ranchers and stakeholders. “The Next Farm Bill, Conversations in the Field,” is an effort by the Ag Committee to stimulate conversation and gather input from farmers, ranchers and agriculture stakeholders. The program was announced by House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN), and will involve a series of committee listening sessions conducted across America.

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Scientists Publish New Study Analyzing How Bread Aromas And Tastes Interact To Produce Flavor


Scientists Publish New Study Analyzing How Bread Aromas And Tastes Interact To Produce Flavor

TAMPA, FL - May 31, 2017 - Psychologists rank the enjoyment of eating and drinking among the key criteria used to measure quality of life. For food scientists, chefs and gourmets, the pleasures of food derive in part from the aromatic odorants, also known as “volatile organic compounds,” impacting taste buds in the mouth and olfactory sensors in the nasal canal, where the combination of taste and aroma becomes flavor.

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FDA Will Begin Enforcing Menu Labeling Requirements in Less Than Two Months: Covered Establishments Must be Prepared


FDA Will Begin Enforcing Menu Labeling Requirements in Less Than Two Months: Covered Establishments Must be Prepared

After many delays, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is slated to begin enforcing its menu labeling rule on May 5, 2017. The Food Labeling; Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments rule, codified at 21 CFR 101.11, applies to retail food establishments with twenty (20) or more locations. These establishments must provide information on their menus including (i) calorie counts for standard menu items, (ii) a succinct statement regarding recommended calorie intake and, (iii) a statement regarding the availability of additional written nutritional information.

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FDA’s Deeming Rule Extends the Agency’s Authority over Tobacco Products


FDA’s Deeming Rule Extends the Agency’s Authority over Tobacco Products\

On May 05, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized the long awaited and slightly contentious rule: “Deeming Tobacco Products To Be Subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act” (the “Deeming Rule”). The Deeming Rule extends the FDA's authority to regulate tobacco products to include electronic nicotine delivery systems (such as e-cigarettes and vape pens), all cigars, hookah (waterpipe) tobacco, pipe tobacco, and nicotine gels.

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FDA Issues New Federal Regulations for Food Shippers and Transporters


FDA Issues New Federal Regulations for Food Shippers and Transporters

On April 5, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced final promulgation and issuance of a new food safety rule under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that governs transportation of food. The new rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food, which goes into effect either one or two years following official publication depending on the size of the regulated business, will require those involved in transporting human and animal food by motor or rail vehicle to follow recognized best practices for sanitary transportation, such as properly refrigerating food, adequately cleaning vehicles between loads and properly protecting food during transportation.

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Charting New Directions in Food Recycling and Donations


Charting New Directions in Food Recycling and Donations

While California’s recent commitment to a statewide $15/hour minimum wage currently dominates news headlines, the state continues to lead by example in a variety of other areas. One key example of California’s progressive leadership is in the area of recycling and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission goals.

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Trial Court Upholds NYC Regulation Mandating Chain Restaurant Menu Labeling for Excess Salt Content


Trial Court Upholds NYC Regulation Mandating Chain Restaurant Menu Labeling for Excess Salt Content

On February 24, 2016, a New York state trial judge ruled that chain restaurants in New York City must warn customers about menu items containing high levels of sodium. At issue is a municipal regulation adopted by the New York City Board of Health in September of 2015 that applies to chain restaurants operating in the city; the rule defines a “chain” as restaurants with 15 or more locations nationwide. The new rule requires chain restaurants to label menu items containing 2,300 milligrams or more of sodium with a salt shaker symbol and a warning that consuming high levels of salt can increase blood pressure and risk of heart disease and stroke.

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FDA Extends Public Comment Period for New Regulation on Labeling "Gluten-Free" Foods and Beverages


FDA Extends Public Comment Period for New Regulation on Labeling "Gluten-Free" Foods and Beverages

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that it has extend the period for public comments on a proposed rule to establish requirements for fermented and hydrolyzed foods, or foods that contain fermented or hydrolyzed ingredients, and bear a “gluten-free” claim. FDA is extending the comment period for the proposed rule on gluten-free labeling for fermented or hydrolyzed foods by 60 days.

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FDA Extends Public Comment Period on Proposal to Define "Natural" for Food Labeling Purposes


FDA Extends Public Comment Period on Proposal to Define "Natural" for Food Labeling Purposes

The FDA has extended the deadline for receiving public comments regarding the need for promulgation of regulations relating to the food and beverage industries’ use of the term “natural” on food labeling. The public comment period will end on May 10, 2016, rather than the end of February, as initially communicated by the agency.

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Congress Delays FDA's Implementation of Final Restaurant Menu and Vending Machine Labeling Requirements for Chains with 20+ Locations


FDA’s Implementation of Final Restaurant Menu and Vending Machine Labeling Requirements for Chains with 20+ Locations Delayed By Congress

Through passage of its bi-partisan omnibus tax bill, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 (the “Act”), Congress has substantially extended the time line for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s enforcement of the agency’s new rules on standard restaurant menu labeling. At this point, there is no date certain as to when compliance will be required. The FDA announced last year that it would give chain restaurants until December 1, 2016, to comply with its final regulation requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts for the foods they sell.

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White House Establishes Pollinator Health Task Force to Address Colony Collapse Disorder


White House Establishes Pollinator Health Task Force to Address Colony Collapse Disorder

The White House announced the Obama administration is creating a federal task force to promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators. The task force will look at the expanding, but still largely mysterious, epidemic of Colony Collapse Disorder as well as various issues causing a decline in bee population. The ultimate goal of the task force is to help expand the habitat for bees and other pollinators such as butterflies.

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As U.S. and Global Drought Conditions Worsen, Scientists Look Off-Shore for Water Solutions


California’s Water Woes Shared by Much of U.S. Agriculture

California is entering the third year of a drought, and Gov. Jerry Brown is under pressure to declare a drought emergency that could ease pumping restrictions. Lack of water for irrigation is a huge problem for the state’s vital agriculture sector, which in turn will impact all of America’s food supply as well as U.S. exports to global markets.

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New Year's Considerations: Tax Relief for Farmers & Ranchers Hit by Continuing Drought


As a new year begins, it’s the ideal time for farmers and ranchers to take stock of their operations from a taxation point-of-view. For example, in many parts of America 2013 provided a repeat performance of the terrible drought conditions that plagued 2012. Farmers and ranchers who were forced this past year to sell livestock due to drought should take note that the Internal Revenue Service has extended once more the period of time in which to replace the livestock and defer tax on any gains from the forced sales. To qualify, the livestock generally must be replaced within a four-year period. The IRS is authorized to extend this period if the drought continues.

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Click here for more information on the IRS 2013 Drought Relief Notice.

Latest Case of Infection Suggests Human Contraction of Avian Flu is Expanding


Chinese health officials have confirmed the first case of H7N9 avian influenza contracted by a human near Hong Kong. Although there have been previous incidents of human infection in the Shanghai area of Eastern China, this latest incident reflects a significant geographic migration of several hundred miles southward for the disease.

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FDA Declares Probiotics Produced by DuPont to be Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)


PROBIOTICS (from pro and biota, meaning “for life”) are health-enhancing bacteria. Probiotics are more formally defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as: “live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amount, confer a health benefit on the host." A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that consumption of probiotic bacteria with certain foods or as diet supplements can treat, and even prevent, some illnesses. Northern Europeans typically consume large quantities of these beneficial microorganisms because of their tradition of eating foods fermented with bacteria, such as yogurt. Probiotic-laced beverages are also big business in Japan.

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Elisabeth Hagen Announces Departure as Under Secretary for Food Safety at FSIS


Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, the Under Secretary for Food Safety at the Food Safety and Inspection Service of FSIS, has tendered her resignation from the agency. She will be leaving in mid-December of this year.

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Make Yourself Read This: $5 Billion in Automatic Cuts to America's Food Stamp Program Go Into Effect


Economic stimulus spending dedicated to funding America’s food stamp program, in place since 2009 due to the Great Recession, expired on November 1, 2013. As a result, $5 billion is being cut automatically from the federal government’s 2014 budget for the food stamp program, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

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Oklahoma State University Food Demand Survey (FooDS) Guages Changing Consumer Demands and Perceptions


Despite an increased willingness to pay for food, many consumers expressed mistrust in the American food system, reported a September Food Demand (FooDS) survey.

The FooDS survey is conducted online monthly by researchers at Oklahoma State University, and measures consumer preferences regarding food quality, safety, and meat demand. Initiated in May of 2013, the purpose of the survey is to track consumer preferences and sentiments on the safety, quality, and price of food consumed at home and away from home. The survey collects and compiles data regarding consumer awareness of food-related issues and events, and produces an index depicting consumer demand for several retail meat products. The survey’s sample size includes 1,000 individuals, and is intended to match the US population in terms of age, gender, education and region of residence.

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Federal Court Denies Meat Industry Request to Stop USDA's New Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) Regulation


The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has denied a meat industry coalition’s request for a preliminary injunction to prohibit enforcement of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s revised mandatory country-of-origin labeling (“COOL”) regulation. In a decision issued on September 11, 2013, U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson determined that enforcement of the new regulation would not result in the kind of irreparable injury that is required for injunctive relief.

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USDA Announces New "Humane Handling" Requirements for Suppliers of Meat to Federal Nutrition Assistance Program


The USDA recently announced new humane handling and welfare guidelines that must be in place by July 1 2013 for harvesting establishments that supply beef, pork and/or lamb raw materials that are used in finished products supplied to federal nutrition assistance programs. The new expanded requirements for meat-harvesting suppliers of government-administered food programs represent significant additional responsibilities for humane handing and welfare of animals. More importantly, the new regs may be a sign of standards to come for the entire meat industry...

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