B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘regulation’ tag

Moronic FDA Rules No Wooden Boards in Cheese Aging

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Global Cheese
Global Cheese

What a stupid, short-sighted decision by the Food and Drug Administration! 

A sense of disbelief and distress is quickly rippling through the U.S. artisan cheese community, as the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week announced it will not permit American cheesemakers to age cheese on wooden boards.

Recently, the FDA inspected several New York state cheesemakers and cited them for using wooden surfaces to age their cheeses. The New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets’ Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services, which (like most every state in the U.S., including Wisconsin), has allowed this practice, reached out to FDA for clarification on the issue. A response was provided by Monica Metz, Branch Chief of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s (CFSAN) Dairy and Egg Branch.

In the response, Metz stated that the use of wood for cheese ripening or aging is considered an unsanitary practice by FDA, and a violation of FDA’s current Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations.

(click here to continue reading Cheese Underground: Game Changer: FDA Rules No Wooden Boards in Cheese Aging.)

As a cheese-eating descender-from-monkeys1 the FDA is making a really stupid mess out things, benefitting a few corporate cheese makers like Kraft and Cabot Creamery at the expense of good cheese made by small businesses. 

In case of emergency break glass
In case of emergency break glass

And to make it even worse, the FDA is seemingly about to ban the import of most cheese from the EU, including Gruyère, and others

Wisconsin cheesemaker Chris Roelli says the FDA’s “clarified” stance on using wooden boards is a “potentially devastating development” for American cheesemakers. He and his family have spent the past eight years re-building Roelli Cheese into a next-generation American artisanal cheese factory. Just last year, he built what most would consider to be a state-of-the-art aging facility into the hillside behind his cheese plant. And Roelli, like hundreds of American artisanal cheesemaekrs, has developed his cheese recipes specifically to be aged on wooden boards.

“The very pillar that we built our niche business on is the ability to age our cheese on wood planks, an art that has been practiced in Europe for thousands of years,” Roelli says. Not allowing American cheesemakers to use this practice puts them “at a global disadvantage because the flavor produced by aging on wood can not be duplicated. This is a major game changer for the dairy industry in Wisconsin, and many other states.”

As if this weren’t all bad enough, the FDA has also “clarified” – I’m really beginning to dislike that word – that in accordance with FSMA, a cheesemaker importing cheese to the United States is subject to the same rules and inspection procedures as American cheesemakers. 

Therefore, Cornell University’s Ralyea says, “It stands to reason that if an importer is using wood boards, the FDA would keep these cheeses from reaching our borders until the cheese maker is in compliance. The European Union authorizes and allows the use of wood boards. Further, the great majority of cheeses imported to this country are in fact aged on wooden boards and some are required to be aged on wood by their standard of identity (Comte, Beaufort and Reblochon, to name a few). Therefore, it will be interesting to see how these specific cheeses will be dealt with when it comes to importation into the United States.”

(click here to continue reading Cheese Underground: Game Changer: FDA Rules No Wooden Boards in Cheese Aging.)

Stilton with candied lemon peel
Stilton with candied lemon peel

Footnotes:
  1. a/k/a cheese eating surrender monkey – I’m not yet comfortable with my mom’s discovery that our ancestors included French and French Canadian folk; I’ve self-identified as Irish for so long, adding French to the mix might take a while []

Written by Seth Anderson

June 8th, 2014 at 8:41 am

Flame retardants in furniture and baby products on the way out

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Her Teeth were White Lies

Her Teeth were White Lies

Earlier today…

In a move that could affect consumers nationwide, California officials Friday unveiled plans to scrap an obscure 1975 rule that led to the widespread use of toxic flame retardants in upholstered furniture and baby products in American homes. The proposed changes would require upholstery fabric to resist a smoldering cigarette — the biggest cause of furniture fires. California currently requires the foam cushioning underneath to withstand a candlelike flame for 12 seconds, a standard manufacturers meet by adding flame-retardant chemicals. The rule also has been applied to baby products such as diaper-changing pads, highchairs and nursery rockers. If the changes are adopted later this year, scores of new household products might soon be free of flame retardants linked to cancer, developmental problems, lower IQ and impaired fertility. Studies show the chemicals migrate out of products into household dust ingested by people, especially young children who play on the floor…

Via:
Flame retardants in furniture and baby products on the way out – chicagotribune.com
[automated]

Written by eggplant

February 10th, 2013 at 9:32 am

Posted in Links

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Federal Regulators Let Oil Regulate Itself

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Typical, actually, though still irritating. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a country where the government actually cared about enforcement of safety regulations of all sorts, and didn’t defer to the industries and their lobbyists? I know I would.

Displaced Truths - oil

“Federal regulators warned offshore rig operators more than a decade ago that they needed to install backup systems to control the giant undersea valves known as blowout preventers, used to cut off the flow of oil from a well in an emergency.

The warnings were repeated in 2004 and 2009. Yet the Minerals Management Service, the Interior Department agency charged both with regulating the oil industry and collecting royalties from it, never took steps to address the issue comprehensively, relying instead on industry assurances that it was on top of the problem, a review of documents shows.

In the intervening years, numerous blowout preventers and their control systems have failed, though none as catastrophically as those on the well the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig was preparing when it blew up on April 20, leaving tens of thousands of gallons of oil a day spewing into the Gulf of Mexico.

Agency records show that from 2001 to 2007, there were 1,443 serious drilling accidents in offshore operations, leading to 41 deaths, 302 injuries and 356 oil spills. Yet the federal agency continues to allow the industry largely to police itself, saying that the best technical experts work for industry, not for the government.

Critics say that, then and now, the minerals service has been crippled by this dependence on industry and by a climate of regulatory indulgence.”

(click to continue reading Federal Regulators’ Warnings on Safety Weren’t Acted On – NYTimes.com.)

Assholes.

Written by Seth Anderson

May 8th, 2010 at 10:19 am

FCC Wants to Regulate Broadband

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Not surprising, especially after the court ruling saying the FCC was over-stepping its authority.

Computer Consultants

F.C.C. Is Expected to Make Push to Regulate Broadband – NYTimes.com: ” The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission will try to regulate broadband Internet service despite a recent court ruling that the commission had limited powers to do so.

Two F.C.C. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Julius Genachowski, the F.C.C. chairman, will announce Thursday that the commission considers broadband service a sort of hybrid between an information service and a utility and that it has sufficient power to regulate Internet traffic under existing law.

The F.C.C. decision is likely to be seen as a victory for content companies like Amazon.com and Google, the owner of YouTube, which do not want Internet service providers to have the power to charge them for access to customers or for faster download speeds.

The phone and cable companies that provide Internet service have said they have no plans to do so, but that could change.

(click to continue reading F.C.C. Is Expected to Make Push to Regulate Broadband – NYTimes.com.)

I wouldn’t be surprised if a telecom corporation decided to step up their plans to charge Google or similar heavy consumers of bandwidth extra. Why not test it out before the FCC says they cannot do so? Plus once such a tiered setup exists, there would be some inertia against changing it.

On Thursday, Mr. Genachowski is expected to assert that the agency, under its powers to regulate phone service, is permitted to require broadband service providers to follow certain transmission guidelines, including safeguarding privacy, not discriminating against certain types of content providers, offering service to rural customers at the same rate as urban customers and providing access to people with disabilities.

His decision would appear to have the backing of some important lawmakers.

On Wednesday Representative Henry A. Waxman and Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, the chairmen of the House and Senate committees that oversee the F.C.C. wrote to him saying, “it is essential for the commission to have oversight over these aspects of broadband policy” and that they were prepared to consider legislation to provide it. The F.C.C. apparently will not seek to enforce the vast authority it has over telephone utilities in which it can regulate rates.

Consumer groups hailed the F.C.C.’s intentions after word of Mr. Genachowski’s planned announcement leaked Wednesday.

Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge, which promotes open Internet policies, called it “a welcome announcement” that would help protect consumers and expand broadband access and adoption in the United States.

Even after the F.C.C. lays out its authority, there are still potential speed bumps in carrying out its policy. The five-member commission must vote on the approach, which will be put out for public comment and revision before final rules are set. The process could take months and may be subject to legal challenges.

Written by Seth Anderson

May 6th, 2010 at 9:19 am

Posted in government

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