USDA closes loopholes on origin of organic dairy livestock
After years of lobbying by organic farmers, the Agriculture Department tightened its rules on how dairy animals — cattle, goats and sheep — enter organic production, in the name of fairness to farmers and consumers. The new “origin of livestock” rule would end the practice of cycling dairy animals between organic production and feeding on lower-cost, non-organic rations.
Three percent of U.S. egg-laying flock lost to bird flu
Nearly 11.8 million egg-laying hens — three of every 100 in the U.S. flock — have died in outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in less than a month, USDA data released on Tuesday show. The latest losses were 1.46 million hens in Guthrie County in central Iowa.
Today’s Quick Hits
UN warns of food shortages: The war in Ukraine is threatening to devastate the World Food Programme’s efforts to feed some 125 million people globally. (Reuters)
Coronavirus food fraud conviction: USDA Inspector General Phyllis Fong said a Georgia man was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $248,739 in restitution for false claims submitted for livestock in the first conviction of fraud in USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. (House Appropriations)
Tofurky wins labeling suit: In a case brought by the maker of Tofurky, a U.S. district court judge halted enforcement of a Louisiana law that barred plant-based foods from using descriptors, such as “burger,” that commonly appear on meat products. (Courthouse News)
OTA names new leader: Food industry executive Tom Chapman, active in organic agriculture for years, will start work as chief executive of the Organic Trade Association on April 18. (OTA)
Senate confirms CFTC nominees: On a voice vote, the Senate confirmed Christy Romero, Kristin Johnson, Summer Mersinger, and Caroline Pham as commissioners of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates the futures markets. (Senate Agriculture)
Rural hospital danger zone: Since1990, the rural hospitals most likely to close were those that were neighbors of metropolitan counties, had proportionally large Black and Hispanic populations, and were in the South, says a study. (Daily Yonder)