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FDA Takes Important New Steps to Strengthen Oversight of Food Imports

First, the FDA announced that it has recognized the first accreditation body under the voluntary Accredited Third-Party Certification Program created by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).The organization being recognized is ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB), an organization jointly owned by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society for Quality (ASQ) based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This organization is being recognized because it met the applicable FDA requirements, validated through application review and on-site assessment.

A review of the White House infrastructure plan

Half of the undisclosed amount of money (widely believed to be in the $200 billion range) would go into something called the Infrastructure Incentives Initiative. This has all the hallmarks of the worst of federal infrastructure spending: anything infrastructure-related is eligible, any government or public authority can apply, scoring is heavily weighted to induce local governments to take on lots of debt and there is only faint concern for long term maintenance costs or return on investment. Yuck!

NAFTA talks set to continue as Canada and the U.S. trade barbs

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland stood on a red-velvet covered box to reach the microphone and fixed her gaze on the back of the room as President Donald Trump’s crusty trade ambassador Robert Lighthizer took swipe after swipe at what he described as unacceptable Canadian trade positions.Then Freeland fired back.If the U.S.

USDA, FDA Announce Formal Agreement to Bolster Coordination and Collaboration

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. announced at the White House today a formal agreement aimed at making the oversight of food more efficient and effective by bolstering coordination between the two agencies. The formal agreement outlines efforts to increase interagency collaboration, efficiency and effectiveness on produce safety and biotechnology activities, while providing clarity to manufacturers.

When It Comes To Farm Bill Politics, The Lines Blur

Partisan politics may meet its match in the 2018 farm bill. The massive legislation, versions of which will be introduced this spring in the U.S. House and Senate, is shaping up to be less about political affiliations and more about finding common ground.Bonds also are being forged among interest groups and lobbyists, conservative, liberal and anything in between.

State of Infrastructure

Kevin DeGood, director of infrastructure policy at the Center for American Progress, said the president's speech offered no new details."Creating a private equity bonanza for Wall Street will mean higher taxes, tolls, and user fees for working -- and middle-class -- Americans," DeGood said in a news release.The Trump plan calls for about $200 billion in federal dollars invested, to spark public/private partnerships to fund some $1.5 trillion in improvements.DeGood said the plan would lead to increases in state and local taxes and user fees, while shifting the cost burden to states and citie

NAFTA talks that were supposed to end last year might continue into 2019

Talks aimed at reaching a new trade agreement involving the United States, Canada and Mexico are expected to continue for months beyond a March 31 deadline and could even extend into 2019, according to industry executives and others close to the negotiations. The delay means that the contentious three-way bargaining — involving lucrative markets and issues of national sovereignty — may collide with elections later this year in both Mexico and the United States. For now, the American threat to abandon the talks appears to have receded.

USDA releases it's 2018 farm bill principles

The summary of principles are largely broad in scope and would leave much of the nuts and bolts of a farm bill up to Congress. USDA wants a "fiscally responsible" farm bill that reflects the Trump Administration's budget goals. USDA also wants to reduce the regulatory burdens on USDA customers as well. Perdue said the principles come after traveling to more than 30 states to hear from people in agriculture.USDA's farm bill concepts call for "a farm safety net that helps American farmers weather times of economic stress without distorting markets or increasing shallow loss payments."

U.S. EPA reverses policy on 'major sources' of pollution

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is withdrawing a provision of the Clean Air Act that requires a major source of pollution like a power plant to always be treated as a major source, even if it makes changes to reduce emissions. The decision to withdraw the “once-in always-in” policy is part of President Donald Trump’s effort to roll back federal regulations and was sought by utilities, the petroleum industry and others.

Business GOP lawmakers condemn Trump’s tariff decision ahead of NAFTA talks

Republican senators on Wednesday condemned President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on washing machines and solar panels, exposing simmering GOP divisions over international trade that threaten the uneasy alliance between the president and lawmakers of his own party. “I don’t agree with it, I think it’s a bad path to head down,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said of the tariff decisions.


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