Former Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter, Mary, appears to be connected to a last-minute effort to persuade federal regulators to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.Continue reading
Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, with President Barack Obama scheduled to deliver the annual stay of execution for the National Thanksgiving Turkey on Wednesday. But on Capitol Hill, there's less goodwill: An end to the impasse on the farm bill is not in sight. Last year at this time we reported that Congress had let the massive bill that governs farm programs as well as food programs for the needy expired months before the holiday; this year is much the same, with little hope of the lawmakers -- who are off on their own holiday recess -- coming to agreement come ...Continue reading
The American Bakers Association is congratulating the Food and Drug Administration for granting its members an exemption to new food safety rules -- an exemption the trade association has lobbied long and hard to get. It's a case study of how powerful interests lay the groundwork for regulatory wins.Continue reading
With the November 15 deadline looming for comments on two key food safety regulations, organizations representing organic and small farmers are urging members to write in and criticize them. Some interests didn't wait until the last minute: the proposed rules have already received a slew of comments, according to analysis of proposed rules using Sunlight's Docket Wrench tool.
At issue for the sustainable agriculture crowd is how and whether the new rules apply to small farming and processing operations. The Food Safety Modernization Act, which authorized the regulations, included an exemption for the small operators thanks to an ...Continue reading
While the federal government has extensive rules about how its regulatory agencies makes rules--with notices, publication schedules and comment periods--there is no government-wide policy for providing information to the public about meetings between executive branch officials and private interests. These contacts between regulators those seeking to influence them--refered to as ex parte meetings--can have a profound effect on the final shape of the rules that govern everything from disposing of trash to disclosing positions in complex derivatives. Yet there is no uniform requirement to make information about these meetings available to the public, let alone whether or not agencies must ...Continue reading
Among the many groups pushing for exemption from new food safety rules meant to prevent outbreaks of deady bacteria are a group of dry bulb onion farmers from Idaho and Oregon.
"To date there has never been a documented food safety issue with dry bulbs. Onions have a protective covering and curing process that greatly reduce food safety risks," wrote a cluster of at least 47 onion farmers to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last May. "Onions are never consumed without first being peeled. Because of these factors we feel that dry bulb onions should be exempt." The group ...Continue reading
Regulations designed to improve food safety have been languishing in an obscure White House office.Continue reading
As the nation's farmers enter a new growing season two years after 33 people died and 147 people were sickened in 28 states after eating listeria-infested canteloupe from a Colorado farm, the produce industry has effectively delayed implementation of a law intended to improve food safety.
The United Fresh Produce Association, which describes itself as "industry's leading trade association committed to driving the growth and success of produce companies and their partners" spearheaded the push for more time to comment on a pair of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules toughening safety standards for farms and processors.
The ...Continue reading