October 25, 2016

GAO Says USDA Needs to Enhance Oversight of GMO Crops

The U.S. Government Accountability Office has released a report stating that the USDA needs to enhance its oversight and better understand the effects of unintended mixing of GMO (genetically modified organisms, also known as GE, or genetically engineered) crops with other crops. This has long been a concern of those opposed to genetically modified organisms. The report states that the USDA has "not updated its regulations to oversee GE drops derived from alternative technologies in which the GE crop developed contains no plant pest DNA." While the EPA regulates some GE crops as part of its pesticide regulation process, and the FDA works with companies that develop GE crops to consider food safety issues, USDA's GE crop regulations only pertain to crops for which the donor, vector, or … [Read more...]

GAO Criticizes USDA Proposal to Privatize Poultry Inspection

The Government Accountability Office released an analysis yesterday of the HACCP-based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) in poultry slaughter. The USDA is using that project to justify a proposal to private poultry inspection in some plants in this country. The proposed rule, called "Modernization of Poultry Inspection" published in January 2012, would use untrained company employees to replace most FSIS inspectors on the poultry slaughter lines. The rule would also increase chicken plant line speeds to increase to 175 birds-per-minute from 140, raising questions about worker safety and food safety. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) requested the GAO report. The report evaluated USDA's examination of 20 young chicken plants and 5 young turkey plants for the HIMP proposal and found … [Read more...]

Revamping Federal Oversight of Food Safety

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released their 2013 report on high risk areas of oversight. Food safety was one of those areas. We reported on this over the weekend, along with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro's response to the government. But the document itself is worth examining more closely. The GAO states that federal oversight of food safety is fragmented and inconsistent. Indeed, the FDA, USDA, FSIS, USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, and USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service all play a part in overseeing the egg production system, for example. There was a recall of more than 500 million eggs in 2010 that highlighted this problem. They also state that there are three trends that create food safety challenges: a substantial portion of our food supply is … [Read more...]

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