Produce Safety Standards; U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement
**State agencies that are beginning to implement new produce safety and other standards required by the Food Safety Modernization Act will need a lot more money in fiscal 2018.
That’s according to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture in its annual appropriations letter to Congress.
NASDA is also seeking more funding for USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs. More broadly, however, the group argued for continued support for states struggling to implement federal mandates.
**School food service directors, who say they’ve been struggling to meet increased nutrition standards that have boosted food costs, are looking for some help in the next farm bill.
Hundreds of school nutrition officials were on Capitol Hill last week urging lawmakers to support earmarking $140 milllion in annual funding to buy commodities for school breakfasts.
That farm bill funding would be the equivalent of 6 cents per meal. USDA currently helps defray the cost of school meals both through direct reimbursement and through the supply of commodities for lunches. USDA does NOT provide commodities for breakfast.
** The Trump administration has made clear its dislike of the five-year-old U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, but South Korea’s ambassador Ahn Ho-Young told Agri-Pulse the pact has been enforced for the past five years and is working fine.
And while a $28 billion trade surplus helps South Korea’s view on the agreement, the Trump administration says their success has coincided with a dramatic increase in our trade deficit with that country.