‘Cap and trade’ provisions under fire  

Manufacturers were far from enthusiastic about President Obama’s FY 2009 budget blueprint unveiled in February. In particular, they expressed concern about the so-called “cap and trade” provisions. Cap and trade refers to a system of taxing businesses based on the amount of carbon they release into the atmosphere.

Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the Institute for 21st Century Energy at the US Chamber of Commerce, called the provision “the most troubling” piece of the president’s proposed budget.

“Assuming such revenues without a full and thorough national debate is premature and ignores the political process and the principal need to determine the economic impact on our nation’s industries and citizens,” she said.

The dairy industry, meanwhile, said it is committing itself to a voluntary 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020. The International Dairy Foods Association says such a move is good business.

“Our goal is to help dairy companies to thrive for generations while increasing the health and well-being of consumers, communities, the US dairy industry and the planet,” said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO.

Tipton said meeting that goal is equivalent to taking more than 1.25 million passenger cars off the road every year.

Senate supports FDA power increase  

The US Senate is developing bipartisan legislation that would give FDA expanded power to recall products, require food safety plans from manufacturers and impose new regulations on produce. The measure has the support of the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

“In particular, GMA supports proposals requiring all food companies to have a comprehensive food safety plan in place,” said GMA President and CEO Pam Bailey. “It is absolutely critical that manufacturers take a preventative approach in identifying and evaluating potential hazards and building food safety into the manufacturing process from the very beginning.”

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act is cosponsored by US Senators Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) and Judd Gregg (R-NH). Additional cosponsors include: Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).