In the News
» FDA TO DELAY EFFECTIVE DATE OF BSE-PREVENTION FEED RULE CHANGES
The Food and Drug Administration announced a 60-day delay, to on or about June 27, in the effective date of its April 2008 final rule banning the use of brains and spinal cords from cattle 30 months or older in all animal feed.
The final rule, which had been scheduled to take effect for products in commerce as of April 27, is designed to further enhance existing U.S. feed regulations that ban the feeding of certain mammalian material to cattle and other ruminants to prevent the establishment or spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
FDA officials said the delay was being announced as part of the Obama administration’s review of final regulations issued by the Bush administration that had not taken effect by inauguration day (Jan. 20). Importantly, while a 30-day comment period will be provided on the final rule as part of the delayed implementation announcement, the agency said it will not entertain comments to change the substance of the rule, only whether implementation should be delayed further. Opponents of the feed rule changes, primarily rendering and livestock organizations, had argued that a delay was needed because the one-year phase-in provided by the FDA did not provide adequate time to prepare for using or disposing of dead stock.
Once implemented, the feed rule changes are expected to have a minimal impact on commercial feed manufacturers, with the principal compliance burden falling on the rendering sector. FDA officials have stated publicly that there is no requirement in the final rule for feed manufacturers to clean out storage tanks containing animal fats to purge tallow residue that may not meet the new feed rule’s purity standard.
» MISSOURI PROPOSES TOUGHER REGULATION ON GRAIN SALES
Missouri legislators have proposed tougher regulations on grain sales in response to a recent fraud case in northeast Missouri that resulted in $15 million in losses.
In February, state regulators suspended the license and froze assets of T.J. Gieseker Farms and Trucking of Martinsburg, MO, after a routine audit revealed that it owed more than $1.3 million in unpaid grain royalties. The Missouri attorney general has launched a criminal investigation into the missing money.
According to a story in the Hannibal Courier-Post on Feb. 26, the company’s owner and only employee, allegedly quoted farmers a price for their grain and promised to pay them once it was sold. The company then transported the grain to terminals in Mexico, Louisiana, St. Louis and Illinois. When the grain was sold, Gieseker paid farmers little or none of what they were owed and kept the money. Most of the deals were made over the telephone or with a handshake, not a written contract.
The proposed legislation would increase the bonding requirements for licensed grain dealers and set criminal penalties for unlicensed grain dealers. The Missouri speaker of the house also announced creation of an agricultural task force to address the problem and to determine whether Missouri needs an indemnity fund for farmers who might lose money in speculative commodity markets.
» MONSANTO COMPLETES REGULATORY SUBMISSIONS FOR DROUGHT-TOLERANT CORN PRODUCT
Monsanto Co. announced it has completed regulatory submissions in the United States and Canada for the world’s first biotech drought-tolerant corn product developed together with German-based BASF. The company applied for U.S. Department of Agriculture approval of its drought-tolerant corn product following its submission to the Food and Drug Administration last December. It also has completed submissions to the relevant Canadian agencies. Regulatory submissions in key import markets such as Japan, Mexico and Korea will be made in the next several months.