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Regulatory Watch

Bill addresses obesity      

Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), who introduced a bill called the Fit for LIFE Act, has updated the proposed legislation, adding language that would provide at-risk children with access to nutritious foods on weekends and during school holidays. The measure is aimed at combating childhood obesity.

“The food and beverage industry supports this comprehensive, common sense approach to help young Americans-especially those in underserved communities-build healthy diets and lead active lifestyles,” says Grocery Manufacturers Association President and CEO Pamela G. Bailey.

Should menu labeling apply to supermarkets?     

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) says 36 members of both the US Senate and House of Representatives have sent letters to the FDA urging the agency not to expand chain restaurant menu labeling regulations to grocery stores. The letters strongly suggest FDA adopt the agency’s own alternative to limit the scope of the restaurant menu labeling rule to restaurants with menus or establishments that primarily sell restaurant foods.

“We believe these letters clarify that members of Congress did not intend for the recently passed chain restaurant menu labeling law to be applied to supermarkets,” says FMI CEO Leslie G. Sarasin.

The trade group says including grocery stores in the new regulation would be unworkable, as well as redundant, since 95 percent or more of their food products are labeled with calorie information as well as a nutrition facts panel.

Dairy industry at odds      

Dairy producers and processors are at odds over proposed dairy export policy reforms. The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), which represents dairy farmers, says eliminating the Dairy Product Price Support Program would make the US dairy industry more competitive globally.

“Once this program is eliminated, markets, during periods of surplus, will clear more quickly,” NMPF Board Member Les Hardesty says.

The International Dairy Foods Association says the policy would have the opposite effect. It says US dairy exports would have dropped significantly had it been in place in 2009, when dairy prices plunged.

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