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New COOL labeling regulations: No new law
Food Safety News
With a fast-approaching May 23 deadline to be in compliance with the World Trade Organization's decision on country-of-origin labeling, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has forwarded amended regulations for COOL to the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Farm groups offer plan for COOL compliance (Agri-Pulse)
EU looking at country-of-origin labeling for processed meat (Reuters)
Food safety: Complicated rules will require study, specialists say
Sweeping changes in federal food safety law under the Food Safety Modernization Act won't happen right away, yet the message sent to farmers and agricultural business owners in California's Central Valley last week was to become familiar with the proposed rules now.
California Giant intensifies focus on food safety, traceability, quality (The Produce News)
Researchers call for preventive safety in entire production chain (Food Ingredients First)
Slow headway for food safety (Youris.com via Medical Xpress)
Should we stop attacking the global food industry?
There's been an outcry across Europe because some food sold in supermarkets as beef have been found to contain horse meat. This has raised questions about honesty in labeling and the quality of some processed food. But are we being too quick to condemn the global food industry?
Five takeaways from the State of the Union
The Washington Post
President Barack Obama's fourth State of the Union address is in the books — a 6,000-plus word speech in which he laid out both the blueprint and the underlying justification for his vision of his next four years.
Rubio offers back-to-basics conservative message (The Washington Post)
Aggressive speech, even more aggressive message (POLITICO)
All agree immigration policy needs reform, but split on how to proceed
The Washington Post
It was perhaps the one topic that received bipartisan attention Tuesday night — from President Barack Obama during his State of the Union address, in the official Republican response delivered by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and in the tea party's response to the response: the need to overhaul the nation's immigration laws.
Related: Obama to meet with Senate Democrats on immigration (POLITICO)
John Boehner's Senate-first strategy
The same House Republican majority that spent the entire past two years haranguing Senate Democrats for ignoring piles of legislation has a new strategy. Let the Senate act first — on nearly everything.
US hopes to finish Europe trade deal in two years
Business groups and U.S. trade officials are optimistic that a comprehensive trade agreement with the European Union can be completed within the next two years. Negotiators on both sides of the Atlantic said the talks would seek the elimination of all duties, greater market access for goods and services and better cohesion on regulations.
How some schools get kids to change eating habits
Districts across the nation are overhauling traditional lunch menus to comply with new regulations that require schools to increase the availability of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, enforce calorie limits, scrap trans fats and regulate sodium content. The program is working, USDA spokesman Hans Billinger said, and thousands of schools "are already at or near the new standards."
Soda tax could help state reduce childhood obesity
Nebraska's LB447, which was introduced in the Nebraska Legislature by state Sen. Bill Avery, would tax soda and create the Nebraska Healthy Kids Fund, which aims to help schools implement wellness programs.
Related: 'No' to soda tax (Center for Consumer Freedom via Kearney Hub)
Policy wonks: Food and drink industry undermines public health
Wide-scale public regulation and market interventions are the only evidence-based mechanisms to prevent the harms caused by "unhealthy commodity industries" such as the food and beverage industry, argues The Lancet NCD Action Group in the latest edition of The Lancet.
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The five-letter word taking over fast food
The hottest word in fast food marketing right now is "fresh." But with no set definition, companies can claim to serve fresh fast food without meeting any standard. There are no controls over supply chain, time until service or calorie content with regards to using the label "fresh" on a product.
As Valentine's Day nears, campaign pushes confectioners to label GMOs
GMO Inside, a national coalition of companies and organizations, has marshaled a public Valentine's Day campaign to pressure Hershey and Mars to drop GMO ingredients or to label them in their chocolate candies.
Horse meat scandal could lead to higher prices amid regulation
The discovery of horse meat in beef products may spur "a blizzard" of European regulations for the food industry, as agriculture ministers meet Wednesday in Brussels and British cattle prices climb to records.
Related: Horse meat scandal highlights complex supply chain (The Huffington Post UK)
Research on Heinz, Kraft: Food industry posts good growth
PR Newswire via International Business Times
Like every other industry, even the staple food industry bore the brunt of a dire economic environment. However, with the improvement in overall economy, these stocks are making a major comeback.
Coming soon to China: At-home toxic food test kits
The Wall Street Journal
According to a report from the official Xinhua news agency, scientists at the Tianjin University of Science and Technology in northern China have developed an at-home testing kit to help consumers detect more than 60 varieties of chemicals in their food.
Ball Corp. to close Illinois site
Food Production Daily
Ball Corp. is planning to close a food and aerosol packaging manufacturing facility, with the loss of 245 jobs by the end of the year. The Elgin, Ill., plant has been operating since 1967.
Hudson Valley Food Hub gets $826,000 from state to expand facilities
Mid-Hudson News Network
The Hudson Valley Food Hub will receive more than $826,000 from New York state to expand the infrastructure of two food processing and distribution firms that serve farms in New York. Farm to Table Co-Packers and Hudson Valley Harvest together will develop the food hub.
Legalized marijuana: States look to food sector for inspection model
The Associated Press via Courier Post
Marijuana may be coming out of the black market in Colorado and Washington state, but the drug, at least for now, will retain a decidedly underground feel: Users may not know what's in it. As federal agencies stay out of it, state regulators grapple with how to provide safety inspections.
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