July 2013 NAPAR Homepage

UPDATE ON FSMA RULES

A federal judge ruled just several weeks ago that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration must publish all of the proposed regulations required under the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act by November 30, 2013 and have all parts of the law finalized by June 30, 2015.  The FDA has wanted the target date to be in 2016 but Judge Phyllis Hamilton of the U.S. District Court of Northern California rejected that proposed timeline.   The ruling hopefully will mark the last phase of a lawsuit brought about by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) against FDA.   FDA has missed many deadlines for the writing of FSMA-mandated rules.

FDA has released three of the seven key rules that the CFS said as overdue in their suit, including the proposed rule for produce safety, for preventive controls across the food supply chain, as well as new requirements for food facility registration.   Three other rules have been transmitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget, which must approve the proposed rules before they are released.  These include new standard for foreign food suppliers, preventive controls for animal fed and standards ensuring the neutrality of third-party audits.   Finally, a regulation ensuring the safe transportation of food, also mandated by FSMA, has yet to be forwarded on to OMB.

WHITE HOUSE THREATENS TO VETO HOUSE AGRICULTURE APPROPRIATIONS BILL/FARM BILL UPDATE

At NAPAR’s press time, the Obama administration has said that it would most likely veto the House ag appropriations bill, as the bill moves through the House and Senate.   That may be a moot issue for the time being as the Agriculture Department’s annual budget was pulled from the House calendar as a result of the defeat of the five-year farm bill.  The Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee did report out its funding bill which contained an increase of $53 million for DFA for the implementation of FSA which was more generous than the House version, but still leaves the Agency significantly short of the $400 to $450 million it needs to successfully implement the new FSMA law. At issue with the ag bill continues to be millions of dollars in savings and cuts.   And with the unexpected defeat of the farm bill, it is now anyone’s guess what will happen next and even with our insider’s viewpoint,  there are so many different things that could occur including a re-write of the bill, taking the bill to a conference committee, an extension, etc.  But there are still loggerheads on both sides of the aisle that may make most political moves impossible.  Now you know why members of Congress have such a very low public esteem.

QUICK NEWS YOU CAN USE

  • Retail prices for fresh fruits and vegetables are expected to rise between 3% and 5% this year.  In its June 25 food price forecast, the USDA’s Economic Research Service estimates retail fresh fruit prices will rise 3% to 4% this year after rising only 1% in 2012.  Fresh vegetable retail prices will climb between 4% and 5% this year, compared with 5.1% deflation in 2012, according to the USDA report.

  • Fresh is in as you know and another major U.S. restaurant is getting on the bandwagon.  Chipotle Mexican Grill plans to serve more than 15 million pounds of produce in its restaurants this year, up from its 2012 goal of 10 million pounds.

  • Wal-Mart and produce freshness will be taking on a whole new look.  The mega-chain has been struggling with poor shopper reviews of the company’s fresh produce departments as well as inadequate staffing in their produce departments.   In an effort to turn around these conceptions, Wal-Mart is planning on spending millions  to deliver the freshest produce to its stores, focusing on local  (Wal-Mart says they will double sales of local produce by the end of 2015) produce, as well as re-training their produce staffs.  In a related news item,  all fresh produce suppliers who ship to Wal-Mart’s distribution centers must use case labels that comply with the Produce Traceability Initiative by January 1, 2014 or their products will be rejected. Expect other retailers to follow suit.

  • USDA has changed the due date for public comments to July 12, 2013 for its May 13, 2013 Federal Register Notice seeking feedback on the paperwork and regulatory burdens associated with implementation of its “Regulations Governing Inspection and Certification of Fresh and Processed Fruits, Vegetables and other products” under which , on a fee basis, AMS Specialty Crops Inspection Division provides a nationwide inspection , grading, and auditing service for fresh and processed fruits and vegetables to shippers, importers, processors, sellers, buyers and others.  For more information, contact John Motley at NAPAR.

 

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John Motley at jmotley@policy-solutions.net

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North American Perishable Agricultural Receivers (NAPAR)
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