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The FDA regulates food. USDA regulates meat. So who gets to regulate lab-grown meat?

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its intent to regulate lab-grown meat—a declaration that provides some clues about how the federal government will treat a new technology that upends some notions about food and agriculture. In some ways, it’s unremarkable that lab-grown meat would fall under FDA’s purview. It’s the federal agency that’s already in charge of ensuring the safety of most foods, from Hot Pockets to baby carrots and coconut water. What is surprising, though, is FDA’s signaling that it wants domain over a meat product.

Chief ag negotiator expects $20 billion in trade retaliation

The Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative Gregg Doud was also at the World Pork Expo, he says there will be consequences before a deal is struck. "There is, or will be, retaliation against U.S. agricultural exports because of what we're doing in other areas unrelated to agriculture. That retaliation is going to be somewhere in the neighborhood, depending on how you slice it and dice it, over $20 billion of our $140 billion in ag exports."

Progress and Potential Hurdles for the 2018 Farm Bill

The odds for a farm bill in 2018 have improved considerably. On Wednesday the Senate Ag Committee moved its version of a farm bill with a strong bipartisan vote (20 to 1). House leadership is attempting to resolve the immigration issue that contributed to the House Ag Committee's farm bill defeat on the floor. This may pave the way for a House vote reconsidering the farm bill, but success remains uncertain.

FDA’s advice to footnote ‘added sugars’ gets tart replies

The Food and Drug Administration has been flooded this month with sour comments about its plan to require honey, maple syrup and cranberry products to include “added sugars” on nutrition labels.Remarks from New England maple syrup makers have been particularly bitter. They say they don’t “add” sugar to their naturally sugary product. “The only thing the producers do is evaporate water from the sap of this liquid gold,” one commented.The FDA counters that consumers should know how much “added sugar” maple syrup adds to pancakes.

Initial Review of the Senate Ag Committee's Draft 2018 Farm Bill

The Senate Ag Committee draft bill contains reauthorizations for all twelve titles from the 2014 Farm Bill, much of which constitutes fairly straight-forward extensions of authorizations and funds, some with minor modifications. The Senate draft bill also includes reauthorization of the programs in the energy title which was eliminated by the House Ag Committee bill.

Time Running Out for Agriculture ELD Exemption

While the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) 90-day electronic logging device (ELD) waiver for agriculture truckers expires June 18, one group has already been granted an extension until fall. When President Donald Trump signed the $1.3 trillion spending bill in March 2018, it also passed an extension on the ELD implementation for livestock haulers. The bill, passed on March 23, included a mandate for livestock and insect haulers to have an exemption through September 30, 2018.

ICE Raid at Corso’s Leads to More Than 100 Arrests

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents made more than 100 arrests Tuesday at Corso’s Flower and Garden Center in northern Ohio, aided by about 200 law enforcement workers, in one of the largest employer stings in recent years.

USDA streamlines produce safety rule

The USDA and FDA have streamlined produce safety requirements for specialty crop growers. U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says the agency’s Harmonized Good Agricultural Practices Audit Program now aligns with the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule and inspection requirements from both agencies will be less of a burden for farmers.FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says his agency is working to provide more resources to states which conduct most of the food safety inspections.

Senate produces bipartisan draft farm bill

Senate Agriculture Committee leadership has shown that the farm bill can and should remain a bipartisan affair. Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) have, true to their word, worked together to produce a bill that includes much-needed policy improvements and funding increases that will help drive the sustainability of American agriculture.

Age composition of SNAP recipients changes

In 2016, 44.1 percent of the 43.5 million Americans participating in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) were children (age 17 and younger), 44.1 percent were working-age adults (age 18-59) and 11.8 percent were elderly. Eligibility for SNAP benefits is based on income and asset limits, subject to certain immigration status and work requirements.

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