• In the last week there have been a number of interesting developments in food policy. Each is in early development, but worthy of a brief note.
  • President Trump, in a meeting regarding Chinese tariffs with Republican lawmakers from agricultural states, indicated a willingness to reconsider participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), perhaps as a means of blunting the impact of retaliatory tariffs. In a post earlier this week, The Daily Intake Blog reported that USDA asserted that American farmers would be protected in the trade dispute but that USDA had not put forth a plan at that time. Trade groups and law makers are pleased with the possibility of reentering the TPP.
  • Language for the farm bill was released on April 12. A summary of the bill from the House Agriculture Committee can be found here. Initial reactions have been focused on the increased burdens on recipients of Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Plan (SNAP) funds, commonly referred to as food stamps, and Democratic lawmakers have vowed to fight the bill on this basis. Other provisions in the bill of note include funds for development of rural infrastructure, increased emphasis on animal health, elimination of the requirement that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consult with other agencies regarding the impact of registration of a new pesticide on could harm threatened or endangered species of wildlife and increased funding to prevent fraudulent labeling of imported foods as organic.
  • On April 11, a bill was introduced in the Senate as a companion to the Food Labeling Modernization Act (HR 5425) introduced in the House on April 2, 2018. Though the language for the Senate bill has not been posted yet, the House bill would require more consumer friendly labeling including requirements for FDA to define “healthy” and “natural” and for packaged foods to have simplified “front of pack” labels which would highlight the presence of certain nutritional information, including sugars, fats, and salt.
  • We will continue to monitor each of these developments and provide updates on The Daily Intake Blog as new information emerges.