The Committee on Appropriations this week passed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Agriculture Appropriations bill with key IDFA priorities. For the first time, the Agriculture Appropriations bill directs funding to the Food and Drug Administration’s work on updating standards of identity. The legislation also instructs FDA to finalize industry guidance regarding control of Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in a reasonable manner. Additionally, during consideration of the FY2019 Agriculture Appropriations bill, the committee approved an amendment proposed by Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., to direct the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to find solutions to the ice cream waste issue that costs the industry tens of millions of dollars a year.
FDA’s budget for nutrition and food labeling activities has long been underfunded, which negatively impacts FDA’s ability to make necessary updates to guidance and regulations that the dairy industry needs to be competitive. In fact, a January 2018 Government Accounting Office (GAO) study found that nutrition-related activities only account for about two percent of the FDA budget for food safety and nutrition-related activities.
“For the first time in recent memory, this appropriations bill provides a $3 million increase for the Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling to update standards of identity and related product labeling issues, said Tony Eberhard, IDFA vice president of legislative affairs. “This funding will substantially increase the number of full time FDA employees who are dedicated to updating these regulations.”
Here is the language from the bill on standards of identity:
Standard of Identity Activities for Foods. —Of the amount provided for CFSAN, the Committee requires an increase of $3,000,000 for the Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling to prioritize efforts regarding standards of identity and related product labeling.
IDFA has also been working with FDA on its Listeria guidance, urging FDA to finalize the guidance reflecting industry’s suggested revisions. The bill directly addressed this issue by recognizing the importance of finalizing the guidance in a manner that is risk-based and reflects good and achievable industry practice.
Here is the language from the House Agriculture Appropriations bill on Listeria:
Listeria Monocytogenes. —The Committee is aware that FDA is in the process of finalizing guidance regarding Listeria monocytogenes (Lm). Reducing incidents of listeriosis is an important health goal, and the Committee supports efforts to accomplish this objective. The Committee directs FDA to consider all risk assessments before finalizing the guidance and policy on Lm is risk-based and reflects good and achievable industry practice.
Ice Cream Research
Congressman Pocan led the effort to add ice cream research language to the bill during full committee consideration.
“Thanks to his leadership, ice cream processors, who are responsible for supporting over 23,000 American jobs, are one step closer to finding a solution to the problem of millions of pounds of valuable ice cream co-product that must be disposed of every year due to a lack of technologies to recover its valuable components,” said Eberhard. “This co-product consists of, among other things, fat, protein, carbohydrates, and water that could and should be put to better use.”
IDFA believes millions of dollars could be saved with the development of novel solutions.
“USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is well positioned to find an answer,” Eberhard said.
Here is the text of Rep. Pocan’s amendment as adopted by the Appropriations Committee:
Postharvest Dairy Research. —The Committee recognizes the importance of developing solutions to address agricultural postharvest inefficiencies to conserve limited resources and feed a growing population. The Committee encourages the development of postharvest technologies that decrease waste and improve resource use of protein, fat, and sugar in dairy processing.
For more information, contact Eberhard at firstname.lastname@example.org.