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Washington Insider

Senate Leaves Without Considering Child Nutrition Reauthorization

The Senate adjourned on Sept. 29 without considering a bill to reauthorize the child nutrition programs for five years. The Senate Agriculture Committee has passed the bill unanimously, and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and ranking member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) had hoped to convince members to allow the bill to pass by unanimous consent, according to The Hagstrom Report.

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USDA Offers Help to Producers Squeezed by Dairy Margins

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that approximately $11.2 million in financial assistance will be available to American dairy producers enrolled in the 2016 Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy). The payment rate for May/June 2016 will be the largest since the program began in 2014. The narrowing margin between milk prices and the cost of feed triggered the payments, which are provided for through the 2014 Farm Bill.

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Commerce to Reassess Procedures for Ag Exports to Cuba

Despite the United States’ diplomatic opening with Cuba, economic integration between the two countries remains slow due to the general prohibition on exports to Cuba. Under the U.S. Trade Sanctions Reform Act, agricultural commodities can be exempted if companies request a special license from the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security, an agency of the Department of Commerce. To assess the current system, the Bureau has requested comments from exporters of agricultural products to Cuba about their application experiences.

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FDA Updates Food Facility Registration Guidance

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday issued new guidance that clarifies requirements for food facility registration and updates the food product categories companies must choose when registering or renewing registrations. Most guidance for industry is voluntary and non-binding, but FDA clarifies that this guidance is mandatory. Three of the food product category changes are relevant to dairy: Acidified foods and low-acid canned foods are no longer considered food product categories, baby food products are a specific category and cheese companies must indicate the types of cheese produced for each facility.

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Vermont Will Not Enforce Food Labeling Law

Following President Obama’s signing of the GMO bill, which established a national disclosure standard for bioengineered food, the Vermont Attorney General’s office announced that it will no longer enforce Act 120, Vermont’s law that required the labeling of food produced with genetic engineering. “We’re pleased that the state quickly announced that it will not enforce the preempted law,” said Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president and general counsel. “With that added clarity, our members can rest assured that they are no longer required to label their products to meet the provisions of Vermont’s law.”

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FDA to Define ‘Healthy’ as a Content Claim

Following up on a statement issued in May, the Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday that it has started a public process to redefine the “healthy” nutrient content claim for food labeling. During the process, food manufacturers can continue to use the term “healthy” on foods that meet the current regulatory definition. FDA also issued guidance for industry, saying the agency will not enforce certain regulatory requirements for products that use the term if the criteria described in the guidance document are met.

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States Begin Issuing Overweight Permits to Milk Haulers

Late last year, IDFA helped convince Congress to include a provision in the Federal Highway Bill that would allow vehicles carrying fluid milk products to be eligible for non-divisible overweight vehicle permits on the National Interstate Highway system. Since then, several states that have a federally mandated maximum gross vehicle weight limit of 80,000 pounds have begun the process or are actively issuing permits under the new authority. IDFA is part of a coordinating group that is working to advance the issuance of these permits in these and other eligible states.

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Webinar: Introduction to Dairy Product Labeling

Nov 1-2, 2016
From 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. EST Each Day  



This two-session training opportunity will provide you and your staff with the essential information need to produce compliant and effective labels for your products. The two sessions, “Labeling 101” and “New Nutrition Labeling Regulations and Claims” will be interactive, allowing for participants' questions.

Microbiological Testing: A Hands-On Food Safety Course

November 1-3, 2016
Chestnut Labs Education Center
Springfield, MO
 
 
This a career-building training course that is offered exclusively for dairy industry professionals with food safety responsibilities, including those working in quality assurance and control, sanitation, maintenance, operations and more.

IDFA News

ProFood Tech Square

New Media Brand to Support ProFood Tech

PMMI Media Group, a division of PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, has launched ProFood World, a new media brand that will serve the global food and beverage processing industry. The brand, which includes an online magazine and e-newsletters, will help to support ProFood Tech, including IDFA's dynamic conference program, with content covering news, trends, products and technologies in food safety, automation, processing, packaging, material handling and sustainability.