Category Archives: USDA

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Cattle Groups Sue USDA to Compel Country of Origin Labeling (COOL); Launching Newest Standoff in Longstanding COOL Dispute

Two groups representing U.S. cattle producers recently brought suit against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) based on the agency’s March 2016 decision to revoke regulations requiring that beef and pork products be labeled with their country of origin.  According to the plaintiffs, Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund and Cattle Producers of Washington, USDA’s decision … Continue Reading

After WTO Battle, USDA Issues Final Rule Lifting Pork and Beef COOL Requirements

Today, following a protracted legal battle at the WTO, USDA issued a final rule removing mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements for muscle cut and ground beef and pork. Beginning in 2008, Canada and Mexico challenged the COOL requirement, arguing that it discriminated against non-U.S. meat and was outside the bounds of permitted rules … Continue Reading

Not So “COOL”: WTO Meat Labeling Dispute Moves One Step Closer to Canadian and Mexican Retaliation Against U.S. Exports

On October 20, 2014, a World Trade Organization (“WTO”) Compliance Panel ruled that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (“USDA’s”) revised country-of-origin labeling (“COOL”) regulations for meat are inconsistent with U.S. obligations under the WTO.  The panel found the amended rulings – which were revised to include information about where each of the production steps, including … Continue Reading

Industry Groups Challenge USDA Mandatory Country of Origin Rule on First Amendment and Other Grounds

The American Meat Institute (AMI), along with seven other meat and livestock organizations representing the United States, Canada, and Mexico, filed an action this week challenging USDA’s recent mandatory country of origin rule. Issued by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) on May 24, the final rule would revise existing regulations to require covered products to … Continue Reading

USDA Adds New Products to BioPreferred Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) issued a Final Rule on April 1, 2013, which adds eight new product categories, and one new subcategory, to the USDA’s BioPreferred federal procurement program. The BioPreferred Program is intended to promote federal procurement of “biobased products” (i.e., commercial or industrial products (other than food or feed) that are … Continue Reading

USDA Proposes Amendments to Country of Origin Labeling Rule

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published a proposed rule to amend the mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) provisions for muscle cut covered commodities (beef, including veal, lamb, chicken, goat, and pork; ground beef, ground lamb, ground chicken, ground goat, ground pork; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish). The proposed rule would … Continue Reading

FSIS Issues Notice Regarding New Methodology for Equivalence Verifications of Foreign Countries

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) released a notice on Friday that describes a modified three-part approach to verifying the equivalence of foreign food regulatory systems that export meat, poultry, or processed egg products to the United States. In line with recent trends toward making food regulatory systems increasingly “risk-based,” including FDA’s implementation of … Continue Reading

USDA Issues Animal Traceability Final Rule

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published a final rule for traceability of animals moved interstate. Effective March 11, 2013, unless explicitly exempt, animals moved interstate must be accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or comparable documentation. The rule applies to livestock (all farm-raised animals), i.e., cattle and bison, horses and … Continue Reading

FSIS Changes Policy Regarding Applying the Mark of Inspection Pending Certain Test Results

The USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (“FSIS”) issued a final policy statement earlier this week that changes the agency’s practices regarding the application of the mark of inspection when FSIS test results for pathogens remain pending. The Agency’s practice had been to allow products tested for adulterants to bear the mark of inspection, and to … Continue Reading

USDA Adds Product Categories to Federal BioPreferred Procurement Program

Last week, the Department of Agriculture (USDA), issued a final rule that amended 7 C.F.R. Part 3201–“Guidelines for Designating Biobased Products for Federal Procurement.” The final rule added 12 product categories to the federal BioPreferred procurement program. Under this program, federal agencies are generally required to purchase biobased products if a product category has been … Continue Reading

GAO Report on Safety of Food Imports Recommends FDA Revise Approach to Comparability Assessments of Foreign Governments

In response to a request from Senators Rockefeller, Snowe, Cantwell, and Inouye, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report yesterday addressing obstacles that FDA may face in implementing certain provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) designed to ensure the safety of food imports. The report identifies several obstacles to the implementation of … Continue Reading

FSIS Issues Directive on Hazard Analysis Verification Program Required for Meat and Poultry Products

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued a directive that provides instructions to personnel conducting meat and poultry inspections regarding how to perform the Hazard Analysis Verification (HAV) required under section 417.4 of USDA regulations.  9 C.F.R. 417.4(a)(2).  FSIS will initially implement the directive with regard to establishments producing comminuted poultry products, citing … Continue Reading

GAO Report Encourages FDA to Strengthen Its Food Advisory and Recall Process

In January 2011, the FSMA amended the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to give the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) authority to order the recall of all food products when a company fails to voluntarily recall the products. Until passage of this act, FDA could ask companies to voluntarily recall adulterated or misbranded food … Continue Reading

IWG’s Aquaculture Research Strategic Plan Would Give Priority to Developing Novel Aquaculture Feeds

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service have released their strategic plan for national aquaculture research and development (Strategic Plan). The Strategic Plan has potentially significant implications for aquaculture companies, feed suppliers, and other stakeholders interested in seafood and related nutrition policy matters. The Strategic Plan was … Continue Reading

GAO to Congress: Repeal Farm Bill Provisions that Give Catfish Inspection Oversight to FDA

Last month, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) issued a report recommending that Congress consider repealing provisions in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the Farm Bill) that would assign responsibility for catfish inspection to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (“FSIS”). The GAO report, entitled Seafood Safety: Responsibility for Inspecting Catfish … Continue Reading

FSIS Issues Directive on Import Products When Entry is Refused

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service has released a new directive regarding the handling of imported meat, poultry, egg products and shell eggs packed for consumer use that are refused entry into the United States. The directive instructions import inspection personnel on how to identify, control, document and dispose of products that are refused … Continue Reading

USDA Promulgates Rule Requiring Notification of Misbranded and Adulterated Food

On May 8, 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) published a final rule regarding adulterated or misbranded meat and poultry products. FSIS’s new rule implements provisions of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill), which amended the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and the … Continue Reading

USDA Issues Proposed Rule To Expand BioPreferred Program

On May 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) published a Proposed Rule which would amend the USDA’s BioPreferred federal procurement program regulations to, in relevant part, (1) include “intermediate ingredient or feedstock” in the definition of “biobased product”; and (2) include the designation of complex assembly products within the scope of the BioPreferred federal … Continue Reading

USDA Interim Rule Gives Financial Assistance to Help Schools Meet More Stringent School Meal Nutrition Quality Standards

On April 27, 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) issued an interim final rule that will provide additional financial assistance to schools serving lunch and breakfast meals that comply with the updated menu planning and nutrition requirements for the National School Lunch Program (“NSLP”) and the School Breakfast Program (“SBP”). The interim rule, which … Continue Reading

FSIS Releases Residue Prevention Compliance Guide

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service has posted a new Compliance Guide on its website to prevent drug residue in livestock slaughter operations. FSIS has also made changes to its Residue Repeat Violator List and its testing of animals from producers under injunction from FDA for practices that have led to drug residue violations. … Continue Reading

USDA Adds 13 Product Categories To BioPreferred List, Including Foot Care Products

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) issued a Final Rule on April 4, 2012, which adds 13 product categories to the USDA’s BioPreferred federal procurement program. The BioPreferred Program is intended to promote federal procurement of “biobased products” (i.e., commercial or industrial products (other than food or feed) that are composed in whole, or in … Continue Reading

USDA Proposed Rule Aligns BSE Import Regulations With International Standards

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (“APHIS”) is requesting comment on a proposed rule to amend the regulations governing importation of live bovines and products derived from bovines. Companies involved in the importation of meat and products derived from meet, including beef processors, dairy operations, and food … Continue Reading

APHIS Announces New Process for Determination of Nonregulated Status for Genetically Engineered Organisms

On February 29, 2012, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it was changing the process by which it considers petitions for the determination of nonregulated status for genetically engineered organisms in order to facilitate increased public involvement at early stages of the process. The … Continue Reading

USDA Proposal Would Establish Requirements for Program that Provides Fresh Fruits and Vegetables to Schools

Last month, the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) issued a proposed rule that would establish regulatory requirements for the operation of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (“FFVP” or “Program”), as required by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (“NSLA”). 42 U.S.C. § 1758. Under the proposal, … Continue Reading
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