Archive for the ‘Food Safety’ Category

El Paso County FB Sponsors Animal Disease Workshop

A workshop entitled “CORRALing a Foreign Animal Disease” will help inform cattlemen on the implications of a foreign animal disease outbreak and what the response efforts by state and local authorities might look like. The workshop is also intended to help better prepare cattlemen for responding to and preventing a disease or other emergency incident.

The workshop is sponsored by the El Paso County Farm Bureau and CSU Extension along with Calhan Veterinary Clinic and El Paso Soil Conservation. Speakers will include officials from the Colorado Department of Agriculture and the Colorado Rapid Response for Agriculture and Livestock (CORRAL) system.

The event will take place on February 5th at 10:00 am at the El Paso County Fairgrounds. Please RSVP to the Calhan Vet Clinic by Feb. 3rd. Call 719-347-2702.

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President Obama to Sign Food Safety Bill Today

President Barack Obama will sign the $1.4 billion food safety bill today that sets the biggest change to oversight of the food industry since 1938 and gives the Food and Drug Administration more regulatory authority. However, Republicans are sending signals of a funding fight for the new regulations.

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who will chair the subcommittee that oversees FDA funding, doesn’t like the $1.4 billion price tag. “There’s a high possibility of trimming this whole package back. While it’s a great re-election tool to terrify people into thinking that the food they’re eating is unsafe and unsanitary, and if not for the wonderful nanny-state politicians we’d be getting sick after every meal, the system we have is doing a darn good job,” Kingston said.

Still, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg pledged to work with Congress to implement the law. “I’m very optimistic that we will be able to move forward,” Hamburg said.

Food Safety Bill Dead on Arrival

**Update, Update**
According to the AFBF policy department, the House will not take up S. 510 because of certain revenue provisions contained in the bill. House leadership has “blue-slipped” the bill, preventing its consideration until the revenue issues are resolved.

**Update** Roll Call’s John Stantonis now reporting that the House will assign a new bill number to the Senate’s version of the food safety bill sometime next week.
Sen. Tom Harkin said Wednesday that he has spoken with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and other House Democratic leaders and that he hopes the chamber will pass a new version of the bill to send to the Senate before the end of the week.

As Roll Call reported last night, reports of the eminent House passage of the Senate’s food safety bill SB 510 may have been premature.Apparently no one told Sen. Harry Reid about Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution before the Senate passed the measure.

A food safety bill that has burned up precious days of the Senate’s lame-duck session appears headed back to the chamber because Democrats violated a constitutional provision requiring that tax provisions originate in the House. By pre-empting the House’s tax-writing authority, Senate Democrats appear to have touched off a power struggle with members of their own party in the House.

The debacle could prove to be a major embarrassment for Senate Democrats, who sought Tuesday to make the relatively unknown bill a major political issue by sending out numerous news releases trumpeting its passage.

The bill contains a number of fees and other revenue raisers that are technically fees under the Constitution. This has apparently stirred up some bad blood with the House Ways and Means Committee Democrats who now plan on blocking the bill.

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Senate Passes Food Safety Bill

The Senate passed the Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization by a 73-25 vote earlier today. The House is expected to approve the Senate version of the bill with no changes and President Barack Obama is expected to sign the measure.

The Senate legislation would:

—Allow the FDA to order a recall of tainted foods. Currently the agency can only negotiate with businesses to order voluntary recalls;

—Require larger food processors and manufacturers to register with the Food and Drug Administration and create detailed food safety plans;

—Require the FDA to create new produce safety regulations for producers of the highest-risk fruits and vegetables;

—Establish stricter standards for the safety of imported food;

—Increase inspections of domestic and foreign food facilities, directing the most resources to those operations with the highest risk profiles.

The bill would not apply to meat, poultry or processed eggs, which are regulated by the Agriculture Department. Those foods have long been subject to much more rigorous inspections and oversight than FDA-regulated foods.

Colorado Egg Producers Tout Safety of State’s Eggs

Palisade peaches, Rocky Ford melons and Olathe sweet corn are just a few of the locally produced fruits and vegetables that have been tickling our taste buds this season. The Colorado Egg Producers (CEP) Association, a membership organization representing seven family farms, would like to remind you that in addition to seasonal fruits and vegetables, there are main food staples – including eggs – which you can buy locally and enjoy all year round.

“Thinking about where your food comes and buying locally is certainly top of mind for everyone today, especially given the recent news regarding egg recalls,” explained Jerry Wilkins, president of CEP. “It is very important that consumers know that NO eggs produced in Colorado are part of this egg recall. On behalf of our local egg farmers, CEP is here to assure you that Colorado produced eggs are safe. As local farmers, we are part of the Colorado community and our focus is the safety and health of all Coloradans. All CEP producers have comprehensive, multi-faceted quality assurance and food safety programs in place and follow FDA guidelines for food safety. We encourage you to continue to support your Colorado egg farmers and buy local.”

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Colorado Bison Meat REcalled for E. Coli Concern

A Colorado company has recalled 66,000 pounds of bison meat sold nationwide after federal agriculture officials linked it to E. coli sicknesses.

Rocky Mountain Natural Meats in Henderson recalled the ground and tenderized bison after it was linked to sickening five people in Colorado and one in New York, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday.

E. coli is a potentially deadly germ that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration and, in severe cases, kidney failure.

The USDA said the recalled bison meat was sold to stores nationwide between May 21 and May 27. The sicknesses were reported between June 1 and June 4.

All the products included in the recall have the establishment number “EST. 20247” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

Small Meat Processors Endangered by New Regulatory Costs

Small and independent meat processors are at significant economic risk due to increased regulatory costs included in a preliminary draft guidance document issued by the Food Safety and Inspection Service, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. The document spells out new and costly requirements for local meat processors under the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Systems Validation proposal.

In a letter to FSIS, Farm Bureau stated that many of its members who raise livestock “rely on small and independent meat processors” to process meat they raise for their own consumption. In addition, local meat processors offer farmers and ranchers “opportunities to create specialty and value-added products marketed through niche outlets.”

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