Kellogg Wants Tougher Food Safety

Reeling from millions in losses due to the recent salmonella outbreak in peanut butter, the Kellogg Co. is urging Congress to strengthen food safety policies, revamp the current bureaucracy, and install a food safety leadership position in the Health and Human Services Department.

Roquefort Tax Hike Delayed

A tripling of the U.S. tariff on Roquefort cheese (spearheaded by the Bush administration) has been delayed for one month.


Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) Takes Effect

COOL, the USDA program that requires country of origin labeling on foods, takes effect today, though Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has pressed the meat industry to voluntarily provide even greater detail about where animals animal are born, raised, and slaughtered.


Obama Blocks Bush Policies on Food Labeling

President Obama has frozen an Agriculture Department rule set forth by the Bush administration requiring country-of-origin labeling on meat and other perishables. Opponents of the rule say that by allowing meat produced in domestic facilities that also process animals from abroad to carry a "multicountry" designation, it will blur the distinctions between U.S. and imported meats. It is expected that the new administration will seek to tighten the measure.


Pollan on Vilsack

Journalist Michael Pollan is not thrilled with Obama's pick of former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack for Secretary of Agriculture. "I was very disappointed in that news conference," Pollan told NPR, "not to hear Vilsack use the word 'food' — or 'eaters.' And the interests of everybody except eaters was discussed: farmers, ranchers, people concerned about the land."


FDA Mulls Reversal on Fish and Mercury Risk

Despite current policies that call for strict limits on seafood intake, a draft FDA report urges pregnant and childbearing women to eat more fish.


Kristof: We Need a Secretary of Food

In the New York Times, Nicholas D. Kristof makes the case for recasting the position of Secretary of Agriculture as a "Secretary of Food."


Paving the Way for "Organic" Fish

A USDA panel has approved criteria to label farmed fish as "organic" for the very first time, though critics question some of the recommendations. For example, up to 25 percent of fish feed could be made up of non-organic material, while all other animals certified as organic must eat 100 percent organic feed.


California Adopts Calorie Posting Law


California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into law a bill that will require chain restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus. The law makes California the first state to enact such a restaurant law. Restaurants will need to comply with the law and post nutritional information on menus by January 1, 2011.

Schwarzenegger signs bill requiring restaurants to list nutritional content of menu items [Mercury News]


Rocket Fuel in Your Water? Okay!

The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that there is no need to rid drinking water of perchlorate, a toxic rocket fuel ingredient that has fouled public water supplies around the U.S.