Page 5 …........................ NWA Unveils a Tribute Series
Page 17, 27, 34 …........... Savannah Convention Highlights
Deadlines Set For
A recent settlement agreement with FDA has set firm
deadlines for the agency to fully enact the Food Safety
Modernization Act (FSMA) while the federal court
maintains supervision to ensure FDA’s compliance
with the agreement.
Congress passed FSMA in 2011 to combat the epidemic of foodborne illnesses affecting one in six Americans annually. Congress ordered FDA to create new
safety standards within 18 months. After the agency
failed to meet the deadlines, FDA was sued in federal
court. FDA argued that it could take as long as it saw
fit to issue the regulations. In 2013, the federal court
rejected that position and ruled that FDA had violated
the law. FDA appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
As part of the settlement agreement, FDA has agreed
to express deadlines. The agency will follow the following court-overseen schedule to implement the final
Preventive Controls for Human and Animal Food
Imported Food and Foreign Suppliers (10/31/15)
Produce Safety (10/31/15)
Food Transportation (3/31/16)
Intentional Adulteration of Food (5/31/16)
Deadlines for the sanitary transportation and intentional food adulteration rules will also be pushed back
“We are encouraged that FDA has been allowed to
push back the June 2015 deadline for these rules,” said
United Fresh Produce Association VP David Gombas.
“Each rule represents major changes to the industry
and FDA in how the safety of human and animal food
is controlled and regulated, both domestically and
imported. It’s critical that FDA have the time to ensure
that the final rules are right.”
The White House announced two new ObamaCare
The first will allow some consumers to keep health
plans that do not meet the law’s standards until
past the end of the Obama presidency. The unprecedented move will protect vulnerable Democrats
in the midterm elections by staving off a wave of
cancellation notices that would have hit patients in
the final weeks of the campaign.
Under the new rules, insurers in states that allow
the extension will be able to maintain policies that
do not provide the minimum benefits required by
The policy prolongs the administration’s “keep
your plan” fix from last fall and applies to the
individual and small-group insurance markets. The
timetable will allow consumers to renew old health
plans for the last time on Oct. 1, 2016, meaning
some plans will continue into 2017 under the next
The second will push back the employer mandate
for the second time until 2016 for some businesses.
This delay in the mandate would only apply to
businesses with between 50 and 99 employees, who
would have until January 2016 to decide whether to
offer insurance to their employees or pay a penalty.
Businesses would also be barred from cutting their
workers in order to fall under the threshold.
The employer mandate, a cornerstone of the health-care law, was initially set to take effect in January
2014, but the administration announced last July
that companies would have until January of 2015
30-hour-work week, the basis for the law counts
full-time employees. Treasury said the changes
are meant to give companies more flexibility by
them allowing to average employee hours over the
course of an entire year as they tally their worker
A White House official added that “no additional
major changes are anticipated at this point” for
NWA Announces a
In this issue of The Vineline magazine the NWA unveils
the first in an anticipated long series of tributes to the
past leaders of this storied association. “To our benefit,
we have 100 years of history to value and learn from”,
says Bob Morrissey, NWA executive director. “By
honoring those leaders that gave it all to build and make
the National Watermelon Association prosper beyond
original intentions is both deserving and very appropriate. We are proud to be able to honor these people in
this issue, and in many more issues to come”. The first
honor in the legacy series features the late Gerald A.
Funderburk of Jefferson, South Carolina.
Where Do House
Republicans Stand on
Where do House Republicans stand on the set of immigration principles released by GOP leadership in January?
Journalists spent two weeks asking each House Republican’s office and combing through their public statements
to answer that simple question. The answers suggest
weak support within Speaker John A. Boehner’s conference for overhauling the nation’s immigration system.
The tally found 18 Republicans backing the principles, 2
who said “possibly yes,” 34 Republicans openly opposed,
22 refused to say and 25 undecided. Three others had nuanced responses. The other 132 did not respond.
This is expected to continue to evolve over time, as the
House decides whether it will move forward with legislation. For your information, the ‘definite’ Yes and No
voters are posted below:
Steve King, Iowa
Jack Kingston, Ga.