Written by M. Sean High – Staff Attorney
The following information is an update of recent, local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to agriculture:
Food Security: President Signs Global Food Security Act
On July 20, 2016, President Obama signed into law S.1252, the Global Food Security Act of 2016, which “requires the President to develop and implement a Global Food Security Strategy to promote global food security, resilience, and nutrition.” According to the enacted legislation, the President is required to submit the strategy to Congress by October 1, 2016.
Checkoff Programs: USDA Issues Proposed Changes to Soybean and Beef Programs
On July 15, 2016, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published notice in the Federal Register of a proposed rule that would amend both the soybean and beef checkoff programs so as to allow producers “to request, under certain circumstances, that their assessments paid to a State board or council authorized under their respective statutes, be redirected to the national program” (81 FR 45984). The comment period for the proposed rule ends September 13, 2016.
GMOs: EU Commission Announces Approval of Three Biotech Soybeans
On July 22, 2016, the European Commission issued a press release announcing the approval of three varieties of genetically modified soybeans (soybean MON 87708 x MON 89788, soybean MON 87705 x MON 89788 and soybean FG 72) for both food and feed uses in the European Union. The European Commission did state, however, that the decision to approve the genetically soybeans does not extend to cultivation.
Food Safety: UK Reports Measures Improve Egg Safety
On July 25, 2016, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) of the United Kingdom Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) issued a report regarding the “microbiological risk from shell eggs and their products’.” According to the report, since 2001, microbiological risk from Salmonella in UK hen shell eggs has been significantly reduced due to the “Lion Code quality assurance scheme, which comprises a suite of measures including: vaccination for Salmonella Enteritidis and Typhimurium, a cool chain from farm to retail outlets, enhanced testing for Salmonella, improved farm hygiene, effective rodent control, independent auditing, date stamping on each individual egg and traceability.” As a result, the report stated that UK shell eggs produced under the Lion Code may safely be consumed raw by “vulnerable groups” such as pregnant women, the young, and the elderly.