USDA Secretary Signals USDA Role Over Animal Cell Culture Technology Regulation Ahead of Joint USDA-FDA Meeting

As previously reported on this blog, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that they will hold a joint meeting on October 23-24, 2018, to discuss the use of cell culture technology to develop products derived from livestock and poultry. The meeting will focus on potential hazards, regulatory … Continue Reading

China, U.S. Tariffs to Have Long-Term Effect on Soybeans

The same day that China and the United States imposed new tariffs on each other’s products, including food items, the Soybean Association issued a statement warning about the long-term effects of the trade war. Noting that U.S. soybean producers have spent more than 40 years and millions of dollars building the China market for soy … Continue Reading

FDA Commissioner Discusses FDA’s Efforts to Prevent Foodborne Cyclospora Outbreaks

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has issued a press release in the aftermath of this summer’s Cyclospora (C. cayetanensis) outbreaks in fresh produce, highlighting the Agency’s efforts to prevent outbreaks of this foodborne illlness.  Cyclospora is an intestinal parasite that is spread through contamination of food with human waste. FDA has been surveying the food supply … Continue Reading

U.S. Files Trade Dispute Cases with WTO

The U.S filed five separate trade cases at the World Trade Organization (WTO) challenging tariffs, many on agriculture products, imposed in response to tariffs announced by President Trump on aluminum and steel. The five countries are China, the European Union, Canada, Mexico, and Turkey. With respect to tariff imposed by China, we previously reported on … Continue Reading

Trade Dispute with China Worries Agriculture; USDA Vows Support

 The U.S. agricultural industry has voiced concerns about potential financial losses due to the ongoing trade dispute with China, notwithstanding U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s assurance last April that farmers will be protected. By way of background, on June 15, President Trump announced that the U.S. will impose a 25% tariff on $50 billion in … Continue Reading

Senate Released Bipartisan Draft of Farm Bill

As previously reported on this blog, in March 2018, House Agricultural Committee Chairman Michael Conway delayed the release of the draft law renewing farm and nutrition programs due to opposition to cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP offers nutrition assistance to more than 47 million eligible, low-income individuals and families, and is … Continue Reading

Food Policy Summary

In the last week there have been a number of interesting developments in food policy.  Each is in early development, but worthy of a brief note. President Trump, in a meeting regarding Chinese tariffs with Republican lawmakers from agricultural states, indicated a willingness to reconsider participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), perhaps as a means … Continue Reading

Bipartisan Senate Bill to Increase Ag Export Funding Praised by Farmers

Legislation that would increase funding for two U.S. Department of Agriculture export promotion programs was introduced in the U.S. Senate last week. Sponsored by Senators Angus King (I-ME), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and Susan Collins (R-ME), the “Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Trade and Exports (CREAATE) Act” (S. 1839) would increase funding for … Continue Reading

Cattle Producers Sue USDA to Reinstate COOL

As previously covered on this blog, in 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) implemented country of origin labeling (COOL) rules, requiring meat labels to indicate where animals were born, raised, and slaughtered.  Meatpacking and livestock commodity groups in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico challenged the COOL requirements via appeal to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and … Continue Reading

USDA Creates Trade Undersecretary Post

As background, Section 3208 of the Agricultural Act of 2014, Pub. L. 113-70 (7 USC §6935) required the Secretary of Agriculture to propose a reorganization of international trade functions for imports and exports, including a plan for the establishment of the Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs (U/Sec TFAA). On May 11, 2017, … Continue Reading

Sonny Perdue Becomes 31st U.S. Agriculture Secretary

On April 24, the U.S. Senate confirmed former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue as Secretary of Agriculture by a vote of 87 to 11 and on April 25, 2017 he became the 31st United States Secretary of Agriculture. Perdue, 70, grew up on a dairy farm and holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine. In announcing the … Continue Reading

Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Protect American Agricultural Interests in Foreign Acquisitions

By way of background, foreign governments have recently made substantial investments in U.S. agriculture. Most notably, Smithfield’s sale to Chinese firm Shuangui, Syngenta’s acquisition by Chinese-government owned group ChemChina and Bayer’s proposed acquisition of Monsanto.  Transactions such as these are reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a panel of … Continue Reading

Oregon Contemplates GMO Ban

While much attention in the area of genetically modified organism (GMO) legislation has previously focused on labeling laws such as Vermont’s labeling law and, more recently, the federal GMO bill signed into law on July 29, 2016, various local jurisdictions have considered or enacted local bans on the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops. Earlier this month, … Continue Reading

Will COOL Make a Come Back?

As previously covered on this blog, mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) rules for beef products have long been the subject of controversy and challenge, culminating in a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that the COOL requirements violate U.S. trade obligations to Canada and Mexico and Congress repealing COOL as of December 21, 2015. With a … Continue Reading

GAP Analysis

USDA launches program to facilitate GAP certification for small and mid-sized entities in the produce sector. Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) are a voluntary set of recommendations originally developed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1998.  USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) currently operates an audit/certification … Continue Reading

Fertile Grounds

FDA seeks input on risk assessment regarding use of raw manure as produce fertilizer. Among the issues addressed in FDA’s final rule related to produce safety under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the use of untreated biological soil amendments of animal origin (BSAAO).  Untreated BSAAO are essentially raw manure from cattle and … Continue Reading

Looser Livestock Export Rules

USDA loosens livestock export rules. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has regulatory authority over both the import and export of livestock products.  In the import context, APHIS works to ensure that products entering the U.S. meet the Agency’s entry requirements to exclude pests and diseases.  … Continue Reading

Tariff Trouble

WTO authorizes Canada and Mexico to impose over $1 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products related to country of origin labeling dispute. As previously covered on this blog, the U.S. has been dealing with the aftermath of a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements unfairly discriminate against … Continue Reading

Animal Pharm

CFS report addresses use of animal drugs in livestock farming. The ongoing discussion about the use of antibiotics in farming has received renewed interest in light of recent actions by FDA and the state of California to curb routine antibiotic use.  Although recent regulatory and legislative action has focused primarily on antibiotics, other classes of … Continue Reading

Paving the Way for RNA Spray

RNA spray is touted as an alternative to GMOs. The cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops and the use of GM ingredients in foods continue to be sources of worldwide controversy.  In a recent development, Scotland has announced its intent to ban GM crop growth in its territory.  And debates continue to be waged over the future of … Continue Reading

COOL Cash Cow

USTR indicates that COOL damages are much lower than Canada and Mexico estimated. As previously covered on this blog, the U.S. government continues to develop strategies to cope with the aftermath of a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements unfairly discriminate against meat imports.  Because COOL requirements are … Continue Reading

Ag-Gag Red Flag

Federal judge strikes down Idaho “Ag-Gag” law. As previously covered on this blog, several states have enacted “Ag-Gag” laws that generally seek to prevent individuals or organizations from investigating and publicizing farming conditions and practices that occur on private property.  Thus far, Utah’s and Idaho’s laws have been challenged on 1st and 14th Amendment grounds. On August … Continue Reading

COOL by Choice

Senate introduces voluntary COOL bill. As previously covered on this blog, Congress has been working to resolve the controversy surrounding country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements for meat products.  In the wake of a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that mandatory COOL requirements unfairly discriminate against meat imports — and the WTO’s subsequent rejection of … Continue Reading

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