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FDA releases updated proposals to improve food safety and help prevent foodborne illness in response to public comments

September 23, 2014 Comments off

FDA releases updated proposals to improve food safety and help prevent foodborne illness in response to public comments
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration
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Based on extensive outreach and public comment, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today proposed revisions to four proposed rules designed to help prevent food-borne illness. When finalized, the proposed rules will implement portions of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which aims to strengthen food safety by shifting the focus to preventing food safety problems rather than responding to problems after the fact.

Since FSMA was signed into law in January 2011, the FDA has proposed seven rules to implement FSMA. The four updated proposed rules include: produce-safety; preventive controls for human food; preventive controls for animal food; and the foreign supplier verification program.

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Fertilizing Growth: Agricultural Inputs and Their Effects in Economic Development

September 20, 2014 Comments off

Fertilizing Growth: Agricultural Inputs and Their Effects in Economic Development
Source: Brookings Institution

Agriculture’s role in the process of economic growth has framed a central question in development economics for several decades. While arguments differ regarding the specific mechanisms through which agricultural productivity increases might contribute to structural change in the economy, it has long been theorized that advances in the agricultural sector can promote shifts in labor to higher productivity sectors that offer higher real incomes. Empirical work in more recent years has helped inform the conceptual arguments and underscored the long-term growth and poverty reduction benefits from agriculture, especially for the most extreme forms of poverty. At the same time, recent evidence has also underscored the role of the manufacturing sector in driving structural change and long-term convergence in incomes across countries. This and other evidence regarding agriculture’s relatively low value added per worker compared to other sectors has prompted some researchers to narrow the number of developing countries in which agriculture is recommended as a priority sector for investment in light of higher prospective growth returns in non-agricultural sectors. These debates present a first-order concern for understanding why some countries have not experienced long-term economic progress and what to do about it. If agriculture can play a central and somewhat predictable role within the poorest countries, then it is a natural candidate for targeted public investment.

New From the GAO

September 19, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports and Testimony
Source: Government Accountability Office

Reports

1. Federal Real Property: DHS and GSA Need to Strengthen the Management of DHS Headquarters Consolidation. GAO-14-648, September 19.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-648
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665943.pdf

2. DOD Joint Bases: Implementation Challenges Demonstrate Need to Reevaluate the Program. GAO-14-577, September 19.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-577
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665963.pdf

3. Fish Stock Assessments: Prioritization and Funding. GAO-14-794R, September 19.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-794R

Testimony

1. Federal Real Property: DHS and GSA Need to Strengthen the Management of DHS Headquarters Consolidation, by David C. Maurer, director, homeland security and justice, before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency, House Committee on Homeland Security. GAO-14-864T, September 19.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-864T

U.S. Food Aid Reform Fact Sheet

September 18, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Food Aid Reform Fact Sheet (PDF)
Source: Bread for the World Institute

The United States has long been a global leader in responding to humanitarian emergencies and is the largest provider of lifesaving food aid in the world. Since Food for Peace—the largest U.S. food-aid program–began in 1954, approximately 3 billion people in 150 countries have benefitted from American generosity and compassion. However, as this crucial program has been scrutinized in recent years, clear inefficiencies in how it is operated have emerged. With recent constraints on federal spending, we must seize this opportunity to reform this valuable program so that appropriated funds are used as effectively as possible to reach the maximum number of hungry people overseas, especially malnourished women and children.

Selected Charts 2014, Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials

September 17, 2014 Comments off

Selected Charts 2014, Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

This collection of nine charts and maps presents examples of key statistics on the farm sector, food spending and prices, food security, rural communities, agricultural production and trade, the interaction of agriculture and natural resources, and more found in ERS’s updated web product, Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials.

Introduction to A Theory of the Allocation of Time by Gary Becker

September 17, 2014 Comments off

Introduction to A Theory of the Allocation of Time by Gary Becker (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

Gary Becker’s classic study, A Theory of the Allocation of Time, laid the analytical foundations for the study of household production and the allocation of time within the household. The analytical framework of household production theory developed in this paper remained a pillar of his later work on the economics of the family and the economics of nonmarket activities more generally. Becker provided a formal model of households producing outputs like food, children, and housing that bundled goods and time. Becker’s great contribution was to apply the model to interpret a broad array of empirical phenomena. Becker’s framework allowed for a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of consumer choice, and interpretation of income and substitution effects. Its continuing relevance in empirical economics is a testimony to its power.

Net Farm Income Forecast To Fall in 2014

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Net Farm Income Forecast To Fall in 2014
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

Net farm income is forecast to be $113.2 billion in 2014, down about 14 percent from 2013’s forecast of $131.3 billion. The 2014 forecast would be the lowest since 2010, but would remain $25 billion above the previous 10-year average. Lower cash receipts for crops and, to a lesser degree, higher production expenses and reduced government farm payments, drive the expected drop in net farm income. Net cash income is forecast at $123 billion, down almost 6 percent from the 2013 forecast. Net cash income is projected to decline less than net farm income primarily because it reflects the sale of more than $10 billion in carryover stocks from 2013.

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