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Food Safety

January 12, 2007 | Daily News

Lawmakers seeking to establish a single food-safety agency need to ensure their efforts do not backfire, leading to fewer inspections of facilities regulated by the U.S. Agriculture Department instead of boosting inspections at FDA-regulated facilities, according to sources following the matter. Much of the debate in the past has been over the difficulty of meshing different cultures at FDA and USDA, but some say the biggest challenge would be ensuring there is enough money and authority to beef up inspections.

January 12, 2007 | Daily News

Past congressional proposals to create a single food safety agency did not include any "on-farm" regulations, and the House lawmaker drafting this year's version of the bill does not intend to include such regulations in the new version either. A key consumer advocacy group is petitioning FDA to start regulating growers, but growers say they are already regulated and the marketing agreement they're working on with the federal government suffices.

January 11, 2007 | Daily News

The chief lobbyists for a raft of biodefense laws are turning their attention to the farm bill after managing to get most of what they wanted for vaccine and pharmaceutical makers signed into law over the past few years. McKenna Long & Aldridge hopes to get a pot of money authorized for buying products that prevent agroterrorism -- similar to the BioShield program for biodefense products, according to MLA's John Clerici.

January 09, 2007 | Daily News

The dietary supplement industry is trying to get FDA to issue an interim final rule on manufacturing regulations in lieu of the final rule the agency sent over a year ago to the Office of Management and Budget. Although industry sources say they do not know what the final rule contains, they are worried it may require strict product testing, and unlike a final rule, an interim final rule could be changed.

Industry groups recently met with both FDA and OMB on separate occasions. It is not clear if either is willing to accept industry's proposal.

January 09, 2007 | Daily News

FDA told House lawmakers it takes the agency nearly 16 days from collection to analyze food samples for foodborne diseases and bioterrorism agents, prompting the lawmakers to call for improvements. The news of the response time comes as FDA is considering closing many of its labs.

FDA revealed the response time in answers to questions that former House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Joe Barton (R-TX) and Rep. Edward Whitfield (R-KY) submitted following a hearing by the committee last October on food safety.

January 08, 2007 | Daily News

Consumer advocates think FDA is not doing enough to get trans fat out of processed food so they plan to lobby lawmakers such as Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) to lean on FDA to ban trans fat from commercial foods or tighten labeling requirements.

The American Public Health Association and the Center for Science in the Public Interest are also asking state and local governments to do more, pointing to New York City and Chicago as good examples of how municipalities can ban trans fat.

January 08, 2007 | Daily News

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is suing Kraft for calling Capri Sun "all natural," and the consumer group also may sue Cadbury Schweppes for using the term on 7UP. CSPI is separately urging FDA to adopt the U.S. Department of Agriculture's definition of "natural," which the group says would prohibit companies from using the term on products sweetened with corn syrup.