Bush Looks to Boost Food Safety Spending

Bush Looks to Boost Food Safety Spending

The Bush Administration’s proposed 2004 budget contains a big increase in spending for USDA’s Food Safety Inspection System. As part of the increasing emphasis on homeland security, FSIS would receive an increase of $42 million, resulting in the addition of 80 new food inspectors, bringing the total to 7,680.

Hazmat Inventories

Dairy manufacturing plants should have met a March 1 deadline to report all hazardous chemical inventories to meet EPA requirements. The mandate is part of EPA’s Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, requiring individual food production facilities to account for their inventory of hazardous and toxic chemicals. Under the rule, each facility must file chemical inventory forms, using Tier I or Tier II forms, depending on state law, every year by March 1. The reports are to be filed with each plant’s state Emergency Response Commission, Local Emergency Planning Committee and local fire department.

On Forward Contracting

A report issued by USDA suggests forward contracting reduces volatility in milk prices. Forward contracting is the practice of allowing milk handlers to contract with either farmers or co-ops through the end of 2004 for non-Class I milk at prices different from federally regulated prices. Forward contracting was started in August 2000 under a voluntary pilot program. The federal study says the prices producers received for their milk under forward contracting may have been in line with long-run, average non-contract prices for Grade milk. The USDA report found that 71.4% of participating plants indicated they would continue to offer contracts if the Forward Contracting Pilot Program was extended beyond 2004.