News flash: Government website working - for now

11/13/2013 09:58:00 AM
Tom Karst

Tom KarstThe top produce story from around the web this morning may be the approaching deadline for food safety comments. Checking in at regulations.gov this morning, we find the site is up and running. And yes, that qualifies as a news flash considering the headlines the site has grabbed after many hours of downtime in the past week.

 Here is a summary of comments received:

 Produce safety rule, deadline Nov. 15:  Comments received 4,226

 It is obvious that the FDA is far behind in posting the public comments it receives on the regulations.gov website. While it says it has received thousands of comments, only a few hundred are currently posted.

 Preventive controls rule, deadline Nov. 15:  Comments received 2,428

 No sign yet of comments from industry heavyweights such was Western Growers, United Fresh and PMA.

 

Other FDA regulations have deadlines that aren’t quite as urgent:

Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors, deadline Jan. 27.  Comments received: 49

Foreign Supplier Verification, deadline Jan. 27  Comments received: 84

 

Also on regulations.gov this morning, a strong and unexpected voice of support for the Arctic apple from what appears to be an everyday parent.

From Rachel Holierhoek

 

I am in favor of the arctic apple. I look forward to purchasing and consuming this apple. I will feed it to my children. I will use it in fruit salad. I will finally be able to slice apples and put them in my kids’ lunches without them turning brown and being thrown out because of the browning. Please approve them!

 

Arctic apple developers must dream of a world when all consumers should be so straightforward, so simply convinced of the merits of the GMO non-browning apple.

 

Did you see that Prince Charles took a swipe at UK supermarkets recently?  

From the CNBC, Charles is quoted:


“Small farmers find themselves in the iniquitous position of taking the biggest risk, often acting as the buffer for the retailer and consumer against all the economic uncertainties of producing food, but receiving the least return,” he wrote on Wednesday.

“It cannot be right that a typical hill farmer earns just £12,600, with some surviving on as little as £8,000 a year, whilst the big retailers and their shareholders do so much better out of the deal, having taken none of the risk.”

 

 

Let’s hope that Prince Charles doesn’t receive any UK ag subsidies, or he may be exposed by the British equivalent of the Environmental Working Group as a hypocrite.

EWG has published a list of U.S. billionaires purportedly sucking off the federal ag subsidy teat and Rep. Rosa DeLauro was quick to make political hay on the issue. From her release:

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) today wrote to the 50 billionaires recently revealed to be receiving farm subsidies, calling for accountability on behalf of American taxpayers. She asked the billionaires if they have received farm subsidies since 2008 to shed light on the hypocrisy of wasting taxpayer dollars on wealthy individuals while cutting money from programs, like food stamps, that feed poor Americans.

 “We cannot look at food stamps alone,” DeLauro said in a statement accompanying the letter. “We must examine the Farm Bill in its entirety. These choices will be front and center as the House and Senate differences are ironed out in conference.”

Individuals on the list may also have received taxpayer dollars from the crop insurance program, but there is no way to know, as those names are hidden by law. Those individuals also have no qualifications placed on their ability to receive subsidies, while House Republicans have pushed plans to require drug testing and cut off recipients who cannot find jobs.

 

While optimism may remain fairly high about the prospects of getting to the finish line on the farm bill, there seems to be a possibility that some House Democrats would reject a farm bill all together if it meant hacking away at food stamp benefits.

 

Random links

 

Bolthouse’s new social media engagement campaigns seems inspired 

Food Lion invests in stores 

Nash Finch quarterly report 

Farmworker Justice pushes for new pesticide safety regs 

Local food goes digital 



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