Updated: Apr 23, 2021
LifeHakx - US food safety law changes
By Eva Wisenbeck 23/11/2020
Conspiracy Theory vs Critical Thinking
US food safety law changes
Farm pollution – Amendments to the Defense Production Act in the USA
CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) generate massive amounts of waste, contaminating air, drinking water, and surface waters, impacting the health of both people and animals. Due to the threats these facilities pose to the environment and public health, Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act‘s (EPCRA) requires CAFOs to report the hazardous waste they discharge into the environment. Exempting most CAFOs from these reporting requirements greatly undercuts environmental protection, and poses a risk to humans’ and animals’ health.
EPA issued an enforcement memo, “COVID-19 Implications for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program” (3/26/20), detailing the Agency’s plan to exercise enforcement discretion for situations related to COVID-19. The policy is retroactive to March 13.
EPA will not seek fines and penalties for missed deadlines in routine monitoring, testing, and reporting; settlement agreements; and consent decrees, and for excess emissions, so long as the company documents in detail that it was related to COVID-19 and takes every effort to meet compliance obligations. EPA must be notified of emission exceedances.
EPA is allowing hazardous generators to store additional waste onsite, for longer periods of time, without requiring a permit or changing generator status.
For animal feeding operations, the inability to transfer animals off-site will not trigger regulation as a CAFO, or a larger-categorized CAFO.
EPA may offer “No Action Assurance” to operators of some critical infrastructure facilities, on a case-by-case basis. Public water systems are excluded from this policy.
There are also local amendments, here is one I came across from DakotaPress:
“Governor Kristi Noem just used the coronavirus as an excuse to suspend environmental protections around factory hog farms. In Executive Order 2020-17, her fourteenth executive order in six weeks dealing with the covid-19 pandemic, the Governor has suspended counties’ statutory authority to enforce limits on the number of hogs confined in concentrated animal feeding operations. Her rationale: with the Smithfield Food Sioux Falls plant closed indefinitely due to its, the city’s, and the state’s failure to take swifter action to control the coronavirus outbreak among its workforce, over 500 pork producers have lost their usual buyer and can’t clear their hog pens fast enough to make way for new piglets.”
Well I am no investigative journalist and I admit it has not been easy to find information on this amendment and real world examples. All this highlights to me is that yet again this is for sure an area to keep an eye on and apply critical thinking to any news or articles you come across.
Meat labelling and ‘Swapsies’ – Amendments to the Defense Production Act in the USA
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is issuing a guidance document to provide additional temporary flexibility in food labeling requirements to manufacturers and vending machine operators. The goal is to provide regulatory flexibility, where appropriate, to help minimize the impact of supply chain disruptions on product availability associated with the current COVID-19 pandemic.” – FDA
“Specific examples are contained in the guidance. For example, an ingredient could be temporarily reduced or omitted (e.g. green peppers) from a vegetable quiche that contains small amounts of multiple vegetables without a change in the ingredient list on the label. Substitution of certain oils may temporarily be appropriate without a label change, such as canola oil for sunflower oil, because they contain similar types of fats.” - FDA
You can listen to the podcast episode here:
FDA “FDA Announces Temporary Flexibility Policy Regarding Certain Labeling Requirements for Foods for Humans During COVID-19 Pandemic” https://www.fda.gov/food/cfsan-constituent-updates/fda-announces-temporary-flexibility-policy-regarding-certain-labeling-requirements-foods-humans
FDA “Guidance Documents & Regulatory Information by Topic (Food and Dietary Supplements) https://www.fda.gov/food/guidance-regulation-food-and-dietary-supplements/guidance-documents-regulatory-information-topic-food-and-dietary-supplements
FDA “Temporary Policy During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Regarding the Qualified Exemption from the Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption” https://www.fda.gov/regulatory-information/search-fda-guidance-documents/temporary-policy-during-covid-19-public-health-emergency-regarding-qualified-exemption-standards
Coronavirus Flash Update: April 2020 #5 https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/coronavirus-flash-update-april-2020-5-26371/
EPA Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) https://www.epa.gov/epcra
DakotaPress Regulation of Hog CAFOs https://www.newsbreak.com/news/1550774047772/facing-health-crisis-noem-suspends-environmental-regulation-of-hog-cafos
“Slaughterhouse COVID-19: Meat Deemed Essential, Workers Expendable” https://www.agriculturefairnessalliance.org/news/slaughterhouse-covid-19/
Watch out for part two! Next Sunday, same time, same place! Please like, share and follow us on: