USDA has finalized changes to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, better known as WIC. Among the changes is a new emphasis on fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. It’s the first major revision to the program since 1980.
US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says a cut to USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service contained in the Obama administration’s 2015 budget proposal will not hamper the agency’s meat, poultry and egg inspection responsibilities.
The newly passed Farm Bill reduces funding for SNAP, the federal food stamp program, by $8 billion and trims a number of subsidies for food producers. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) says the bill significantly increases support for fruits and vegetables growers and local food systems.
Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, says there is still a lot of work for lawyers to do, but it’s possible there could be a version of the Farm Bill the House and Senate could agree to sometime in January.
Food manufacturers want more time to comment on FDA’s early November preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils, the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not “generally recognized as safe” for use in food. FDA’s preliminary determination is based on available scientific evidence, and the agency has requested stakeholder comments by January 7, 2014.
The American Bakers Association (ABA), a Washington trade group representing commercial bakers, is opposing the proposed food import user fee, proposed as a way to partially fund the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).