Government Relations

2020 Dietary Guidelines Near the End of Stage One

On Wednesday, June 16, 2020, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) hosted a public meeting to review their draft scientific report. A new edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is published every 5-years and developed in three stages: (I) Reviewing the science; (II) developing the guidelines; (III) implementation. The most recent meeting marks the …

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2020 Food Labeling Seminar Hosted by OFW and The Food Institute

OFW and The Food Institute will be holding their annual Food Labeling Seminar on October 7, 8, and 9. The virtual training course will cover everything you need to know about food labeling in today’s marketplace. This seminar will review the basics of FDA’s and USDA’s food labeling requirements, including recent updates. It will review …

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Policy Solutions to Climate Change through Agriculture and Forestry

The coronavirus has dominated the news cycle over the last five months and has disrupted nearly every industry, particularly agriculture and forestry. Leaders, innovators, and policymakers in these fields are looking for solutions that will mitigate future supply chain disruptions like the ones experienced due to the coronavirus. Therefore, it is not surprising that climate …

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ITC To Investigate the Impact of Blueberry Imports on US Domestic Producers

At the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has initiated an investigation to determine whether increased imports of fresh, chilled, or frozen blueberries are causing or threatening to cause serious injury to domestic blueberry producers.  If the ITC determines that they are, the President is authorized to take action …

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The History and Value of School Lunches

The Beginning The National School Lunch Program operates in 100,000 schools and is available to approximately 50 million children. We have all grown up with lunch in school, and perhaps breakfast too. But it was not always this way. School meal programs have been developing in the United States since the 19th century. As states began …

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COVID-19 and the Need for International Food Aid – A Growing Body of Evidence

“So today, with COVID-19, I want to stress that we are not only facing a global health pandemic but also a global humanitarian catastrophe. Millions of civilians living in conflict-scarred nations, including many women and children, face being pushed to the brink of starvation, with the specter of famine a very real and dangerous possibility.” David …

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Presidential Election Republicans and Democrats

The 2020 Presidential Transition Has Already Begun, Quietly

It is almost easy to forget, in this strange, tumultuous spring of 2020, that we still have a national presidential election, perhaps one of the most important in our lifetimes, just around the corner, five months from now. As a cascade of crises dominates national attention — the covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, nationwide …

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Cows relaxing in the meadow

COVID-19 Webinar: Federal Regulatory Changes Impacting the Food Industry – Recording Available

On April 22, OFW Principal John Dillard presented a webinar addressing the federal regulatory changes that have been implemented to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar also discussed guidance from USDA, FDA, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Center for Disease Control as well as some of the best practices that have been …

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Male hand hand holding Q&A word with wooden cube block

FDA COVID-19 Food Safety Q&A

The FDA is currently posting updates in a Q&A format on its Food Safety and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) webpage.  The Q&A provides information to food production/processing facilities and retail food establishments regarding best practices during the ongoing public health emergency.  For example, the website provides some salient advice on social distancing in food …

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Hands holding towel and disinfectant

New Policies Released by the EPA Today in Response to the COVID-19 Health Crisis

Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two policy statements as a part of the Administration’s COVID-19 response. First, the EPA furthered its commitment to expediting the registration process for new surface disinfectant products. The EPA also announced an enforcement discretion policy under which the Agency will not seek penalties for certain civil violations related …

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Fresh produce sold at a market by farmer

Food and Agriculture in the Phase 3 Coronavirus Bill

By Julia Johnson Food and agriculture continues to be a priority for Congress and the Administration as the government tackles the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. After tense negotiations, the Senate passed a third stimulus bill late last night. Here is what is in it for food and agriculture. Before the second coronavirus stimulus …

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Young woman in medical mask in grocery store because of Covid 19

Food Security is National Security in a Time of Crisis – Phase One and Phase Two Coronavirus Stimulus Bills

By Julia Johnson The Coronavirus Pandemic has dramatically changed life as we know it in the United States. Government from the local to the federal level, the private sector, and non-profit organizations alike are practicing unprecedented levels of partnership and cooperation to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, or COVID-19. Recent bills passed by Congress and …

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A big pile of bulk blue medical masks

Defense Production Act Update – 3/23/2020

Today, the President signed an Executive Order to authorize the Sec. of HHS to designate medical equipment as “critical” or “essential” to the national response to the crisis. Under DPA § 102, the President can take action to prohibit the hording of materials designated as “scarce” or “essential.” Sec. 102 prohibits the accumulation of such …

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Testing materials for COVID 19 Corona Virus

COVID-19 Update for Diagnostic Device Manufacturers

The availability of Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) diagnostic tests is critical to an effective response to the current pandemic. FDA has taken measures to permit the distribution of such tests in advance of receiving authorization to do so from the agency in an attempt to remove bureaucratic barriers that could affect the nation’s ability to mount …

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Little boy finishes meal

Child Nutrition Reauthorization Moves Forward

Reauthorization of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 has been stalled since 2015.  Even though the Senate Agriculture Committee and the House Education and the Workforce Committee reported their respective bills, the Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016 (S. 3136) and the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016 (H.R. …

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George H.W. Bush at his inauguration in 1989

President Bush

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block. The passing of President George H. W. Bush has brought the whole nation to focus on his life and the contributions that he made to our country.  President Reagan brought the Soviet Union down, but President Bush managed the clean-up of the Cold War.  Eastern Europe emerged from the …

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Food and Drug Administration logo

FDA Nutrition Innovation Strategy

FDA has announced a public meeting, entitled “FDA’s Comprehensive, Multi-Year Nutrition Innovation Strategy,” (Strategy) to be held on July 26, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. EDT, at the Hilton Washington DC/Rockville Hotel, 1750 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. The public meeting also will be made available via live webcast. In March 29, 2018 …

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Tomato injected with growth hormones

How the Federal Government Can Get Biotech Regulation Right

By Nina Fedoroff and Alison Van Eenennaam, as published in the Des Moines Register In his speech at the recent American Farm Bureau convention, President Trump said his administration was “streamlining regulations that have blocked cutting-edge biotechnology.” Why is this necessary?  Paraphrasing New York Times columnist Paul Krugman’s words on economic policy, it’s because we’re still living with “zombie” biotech …

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Farmer riding a tractor

Top Priority for the 2018 Farm Bill: Protect Federal Crop Insurance

Of all the issues surrounding a new Farm Bill in 2018, perhaps none unifies American agricultural producers more than Federal Crop Insurance, provided by USDA’s Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC).  Be it North or South, big or small, row crops or specialty, organic or conventional, the FCIC crop insurance program is today viewed almost universally …

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US Capitol Building in Washington DC

What Would You Change About the Federal Government?

President Trump issued an Executive Order (Reorganization EO) on March 13 directing the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to submit a comprehensive plan to reorganize Executive Branch departments and agencies.  OMB has now issued a Memorandum for heads of Executive Departments and Agencies calling for a Comprehensive Plan for Reforming the Federal Government an …

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LGBT flag waving

Employment Law: Title VII Protects LGBTs From Discrimination, Says 7th Circuit

In a ground-breaking ruling this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled in an en banc opinion that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation.  In Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, the plaintiff was fired from her teaching …

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Biotech scientist testing chemicals

Biotech Regulations Must be Based on Facts, Not Fears

By Dr. Nina Fedoroff, as published in Agri-Pulse The Coordinated Framework (CF) for the Regulation of Biotechnology was first implemented 30 years ago. The CF was developed by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). OSTP brought together representatives of the three federal agencies seeking to regulate commercial applications of biotechnology to …

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flags of the north american free trade agreement

NAFTA Renegotiation: What’s At Stake?

President Trump has made re-evaluating our approach to international trade a centerpiece of his economic agenda.  In addition to putting what appears to be the final nail in the coffin of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trump has signaled his intention to re-negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); if the U.S. does not receive …

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Chemical lab testing

SNAP Wars: Scott Walker, Tom Vilsack and Drug Testing of SNAP Beneficiaries

For more than 20 years, Federal law has expressly provided that states may test welfare recipients for use of controlled substances free from interference of federal agencies. 21 U.S.C. §862(b).  Relying upon this Congressional enactment, Wisconsin passed Act 55 during 2015.  Act 55 authorized new drug screening and testing requirements for certain SNAP beneficiaries in …

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