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Vilsack: Under sequestration, USDA must furlough inspectors
Food Safety News
Under the sequester, which recently put in place across-the-board budget cuts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has no choice but to furlough meat inspectors, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reiterated Friday. The statement comes after some lawmakers and industry groups questioned whether USDA needed to furlough inspectors and argued the department has a legal obligation to provide meat inspection.
Stakeholders offer broad feedback on FSMA in first public meeting
Food Safety News
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration heard a broad range of feedback from stakeholders on its draft food safety rules — on preventive controls and produce safety — in a public meeting held late last week in Washington, D.C.
Welcome to food court
Food labeling suits have been gaining momentum around the country for a few years, resulting in some substantial settlements. Several Big Law partners who used to find steady work representing clients in other industries have shifted into the defense of food labeling cases.
Bill Maher slams California vote against GMO labeling (The Huffington Post)
Minnesota Farmers Union opposing state GMO labeling bill (WNAX)
GMO labeling advocates see improved chances in Vermont (Vermont Public Radio)
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Ultra-assertive Obama adopts new strategy: Taking no prisoners
From the sequester to immigration reform to the broader debate about the role of government in American life, second-term President Barack Obama is in an ultra-assertive mood, practically daring Republicans to defy his wishes.
After sequestration stalemate, things will only get worse
The Washington Post
A deadline to either fund the government or shut it down comes in three weeks. The next round of the debt ceiling fight looms in late spring/early summer. Nothing that has happened over the past month should give the average American any reason to think that things won't get worse before they get better, because they almost certainly will.
John Boehner: No government shutdown
The sequester is in effect, but House Speaker John Boehner says he won't force a government shutdown. Boehner told NBC's "Meet the Press" in an interview that aired Sunday the House will vote this week to keeping the federal government operating through September, when the fiscal year ends, and avoiding a potentially politically damaging shutdown.
Obama naming Moniz at Energy, McCarthy at EPA
President Barack Obama will name Ernest Moniz as head of the Energy Department and Gina McCarthy to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a White House official who requested anonymity in advance of an announcement. Moniz is a physics and engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. McCarthy is an assistant administrator for air pollution at the EPA.
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FDA seeking comments on traceability pilot project
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
FDA has released a report on two product tracing pilot projects conducted by the Institute of Food Technologists under an existing contract with FDA. In conducting these two pilot projects, one for processed foods and one for produce, IFT obtained input from the industry sectors and consulted with USDA, state agencies and consumer groups on proposed foods and/or ingredients and product tracing technologies.
New FTC chair could push for global privacy
The Federal Trade Commission has reportedly chosen a Barack Obama campaign insider, FTC Commissioner Edith Ramirez, as its next chairman. With a background steeped in antitrust and competition issues, Ramirez has indicated support of comprehensive privacy legislation and robust rules around children's data collection.
Related: Ramirez champions self-regulation (Food Chemical News subscriber story)
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Soda drink ban starts March 12; other cities contemplating bans
Counsel & Heal
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's "soda ban" will go into effect on March 12, prohibiting the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces. The ban is already inspiring other cities and states to discuss the possibility of further expanding the soda ban.
China proposing single watchdog for food, drugs
China is likely to set up a single watchdog for food safety and drugs, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported Monday. The move will streamline a complex regulatory system that has been involved in a series of scandals over food contamination and fake medicines.
Opinion: Ensuring a safer US food supply
The Denver Post
The Food and Drug Administration's warning to the cantaloupe industry that growers and packers will face additional inspections this year should not be a surprise.
Eating well should include the right choice of snacks
The Arizona Republic via USA Today
Americans are snacking more frequently than ever. And that can be a good thing for those who are making the correct choices, at least, most of the time. Competitive marketing by companies that sell healthful snacks, coupled with heightened consumer health consciousness, are pushing shoppers in the right direction.
ConAgra expanding Ultragrain milling capacity
Food Business News
ConAgra Mills is expanding its Ultragrain milling capacity to meet increasing demand for the whole wheat flour product. Ultragrain currently is milled in only three locations — Commerce City, Colo., Alton, Ill., and San Juan, Puerto Rico — but ConAgra said it will realign its Alton mill "to significantly boost Ultragrain production" and reconfigure its Decatur, Ala., mill to add Ultragrain production.
CPG marketers embrace Web ads with 'calls to action'
In Laurent Faracci's ideal world, "100 percent of our digital media would have a call to action." After studying effects of brand advertising on e-commerce sites and elsewhere, the U.S. chief strategy and marketing officer for packaged-goods giant Reckitt Benckiser believes "the return on investment is three times better when you do."
Tyson to close plant, move workers
The Associated Press via Courier News
Tyson Foods has announced plans to close its small processing plant in Springdale, Ark., moving 60 hourly workers to other company locations in the state.
Next big food trend: Panuchos, mohinga, poisson cru?
LonelyPlanet.com via USA Today
Food trends are easy enough to spot once they've become established, but is it possible to predict the next food trends before they happen? Could we have foreseen the popularity of gourmet tacos, tuna tartare, cooking everything sous-vide or matcha green tea before they burst onto the scene?
CEO outlines ambitious plans for Nevada meatpacking plant
Saying the company could break ground within five to six weeks and be operating by March 2014, the president and CEO of Walker River Meat Processing Inc. outlined his ambitious plans for the facility at a luncheon of the Mason Valley, Nev., Chamber of Commerce in February.
A perfect storm in trade promotions
CPG and retailers that don't refine their promotion strategies will face a tough ride in 2013. Food price hikes that grow dollar sales but impede unit volume force manufacturers to promote in order to move units. It's a costly way to retain or grow share.
Exclusive tour of an Illinois prison's meat plant
Illinois' Vandalia Correctional Center, one of four in the state with food processing facilities, last year processed 200 million pounds of products, including bulk ground turkey, beef patties, bologna and salami, sending it to every correctional facility in the state.
Bringing products to market with an á la carte approach
The promise of growth depends on mastering complexity by finding new products, markets and niches that quickly meet consumers' varied and evolving needs. Yet the promise of cost reduction depends on eliminating complexity by producing high volumes for long periods with minimal variation. Many consumer packaged goods companies are torn between these two models.
Michigan firm recalls ham products produced without HACCP plan
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service
A Michigan food processor is recalling several tons of products because it failed to establish a Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points plan. Byron Center Wholesale Meats has issued the recall for approximately 6,586 pounds of ham products.
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New X-ray tool detects glass in food
Food Quality News
Mettler Toledo Safeline is helping food and drink manufacturers clamp down on glass contamination with the introduction of an X-ray machine specifically designed to root it out in glass jars.
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