Rockville, MD—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued two new rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that are intended to improve food safety. The rules take effect July 3.

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Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the agency’s policy on food additives like melatonin. In response, the natural products industry has sought to clarify the status of such products and distinguish them from dietary supplements.

Little Rock, AR—The historic floods that moved through the Mississippi Delta region recently had wide-ranging, often devastating effects on agriculture, according to reports. These effects are probably related to the worsening of other economic conditions; damaged or postponed crop plantings have meant lost jobs on farms and a further uptick in food prices already trending high.

Washington, D.C.—An interagency Working Group led by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has come out with voluntary guidelines that would limit advertising aimed at children for foods high in sodium, sugar and saturated fat. The proposals state that food advertising should promote healthy dietary choices in children, as well.

With a stated goal of confronting food and agriculture policy issues in the face of global uncertainty, an initiative called AGree was launched recently by a broad-based coalition of leading industry figures. Citing challenges like a rapidly increasing global population, limited arable land, pressure on fresh water quality and availability and environmental degradation, the initiative’s organizers say this is a pivotal time to be addressing policy issues.

WholeFoods Magazine’s long-time circulation director, Sandra P. Wainer, passed away on Sunday, April 24th, 2011 due to heart failure.

At the April 26–29 meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) in Seattle, WA, committee members planned to consider various proposals that would have a major impact on how the National Organic Program is run. One proposal that could prove contentious is for the allowance of synthetic materials in organic products, without prior safety review by FDA or approval by USDA.

Newark, DE—While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) develops its own produce tracing program as is now required by law, a program already established by several produce industry groups, the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI), is forging ahead with its own “track-and-trace” system.