Media attention to food allergies is the result of the recent tracking of food allergy sufferers and a clear rise in the number of affected individuals. Several efforts are underway to improve the ability of individuals who have a food allergy to avoid products that cause symptoms that can range from mild to serious. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Allergy Issues Alliance each have released guidelines to address the issues of labeling and cross-contamination. Nine state attorneys general have petitioned FDA for stricter rules, which are also supported by some consumer groups. The FY2002 agriculture appropriations bill directed FDA to address and report on cross-contamination; however, this report had not yet been submitted. Most recently, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-282) was enacted on August 2, 2004. This report will provide background on food allergies and review efforts to provide improved labeling information for food allergy sufferers; it will be updated to reflect legislative or other activity.
This report discusses the federal food assistance programs for those affected by Hurricane Katrina, making them automatically eligible for maximum benefits. It also is providing substantial amounts of direct food aid drawn from its commodity stocks.
This report discusses federal food assistance in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The Food Stamp program, child nutrition programs, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (the WIC program), and federally donated food commodities delivered through relief organizations provide major support in disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Existing laws authorize the Agriculture Department to change eligibility and benefit rules to facilitate emergency aid, and, in the short term, funding and federally provided food commodities are available without the need for additional appropriations.
U.S. animal agriculture is seeking to improve its ability to trace the movement of livestock from their birthplace to slaughter. The livestock and meat industries are working with the U.S. government to develop a national animal identification (ID) plan for livestock disease tracking purposes. This report focuses on animal ID and, to a lesser extent, on meat traceability.