NAMA GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS — BI-WEEKLY UPDATE
L to R: Howard Chapman, VP, Div. Manager, Royal Cup, Inc.; Vic Pemberton, President and General Manager, PepiFoods; Jenny Hendrix, Director of Marketing, PepiFoods; Matt Monroe, Central OCS Regional Manager, Royal Cup, Inc.; Randy Smith, President and CEO, LightSpeed Automation; Carla Balakgie, President and CEO, NAMA; Donnie Pemberton, Director of Operations, PepiFoods; Eric Dell, Sr. Vice President , Government Affairs, NAMA
HAPPENINGS AFFECTING OUR INDUSTRY
Association's Media Focus Delivers Results for Members
NAMA's team is taking the industry's key messages regarding Calorie Disclosure and the nickel redesign straight to the public and decision makers through social and general media channels.
Led by Eric Dell, NAMA's SVP of Government Affairs, and Roni Moore, NAMA's VP of Marketing and Communications, the campaign is designed to enhance NAMA's voice on issues most significant to the industry.
GOVERNMENT AFFAIR NEWS — FEDERAL & STATE
Ex-FDA Official Praises GMA Call for Federal GMO Labeling Rules, But Says Asking It To Define 'Natural' Is A Long Shot
Former FDA associate commissioner of foods Dr. David Acheson — who now heads up consultancy The Acheson Group — was speaking to Food Navigator-USA after a document outlining the GMA's proposals for a federal GMO labeling solution was leaked to POLITICO.
GMO-Free Cheerios: Did General Mills Buckle to Consumer Pressure? Will the Move Backfire?
General Mills announced its move to make GMO-free Cheerios at the very beginning of this year. The reformation hasn't taken much work as the dominant ingredient, whole grain oats, are already GMO-free. But the cereal major has now replaced its beet sugar with cane sugar and switched to non-GMO corn starch.
Farm Bill: Lawmakers Cutting Deals on Farm Bill
From small Western towns to Holstein cows, deals are being cut this week to try to give the farm bill a fighting chance when Congress comes back from its mid-January recess. Persons close to Speaker John Boehner said he is now more determined to get the bill done. "The speaker was emphatic," said one leadership aide of a recent meeting. And two other persons confirmed that Boehner is pushing internally to end the long fight.
Food Industry Prepares to Fire Preemptive Strike on GMO Labeling
The giants of the U.S. food industry who have spent millions fighting state-by-state efforts to mandate new labels for genetically modified organisms are taking a page from their opponents and pushing for a federal GMO law. But the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents such food and beverage leaders as ConAgra, PepsiCo and Kraft, isn't exactly joining the anti-GMO movement. It's advocating for an industry-friendly, law with a voluntary federal standard — a move that food activists see as a power grab by an industry that has tried to kill GMO labeling initiatives every step of the way.
California: School Lunch Still Healthy Despite Rule Change, Nutritionists Say
The two-ounce hamburger is no longer the rule for school lunches, after the federal government this month permanently removed limits on the amount of protein and grain allowed in meals under the federally subsidized National School Lunch Program. But does this mean the much-heralded healthier school lunches are returning to super-sized portions?
California: Richmond Takes Another Step Toward Raising Local Minimum Wage
The City Council recently directed staff to craft three potential minimum wage hikes for the Nov. 4 ballot that would give local voters the chance to pass the highest minimum wage in the region. The council unanimously supported directing staff to develop three options for the minimum wage, of $11, $12.30 or $15 per hour. If the council approves one of the rates within 60 days, it would go before voters in November.
California: New Coalition Pushing for More Healthful, Low-Cost Food Options
A coalition of organic farmers, nutritionists and environmental justice activists is jumping into the rough-and-tumble politics at California's Capitol. The California Food Policy Council, a network of 19 groups around the state, wants to persuade legislators to pass laws that would support sustainable agriculture and safeguard soil and water quality for large and small farmers. The idea, organizers say, is to make healthful, affordable food options available for low-income urban dwellers, schoolchildren and others.
California: L.A. May Hike Minimum Wage for Hotel Workers To Highest in US
Labor leaders hope a proposal that would dramatically raise the minimum wage in Los Angeles for workers at large hotels to roughly $15 an hour will be a step toward pay hikes for other industries. Members of the City Council expected to propose that large hotels pay their workers $15.37 an hour — more than double the national minimum of $7.25 an hour and push far above California's rate of $8.
California: Fast Food Isn't Making Our Kids Fat. It's the Rest of Their Diet
Imagine for a moment that all of the nation's fast-food establishments — all the striped awnings and golden arches, the drive-thru windows, the beckoning dollar deals and wafting odor of French fries — were to vanish overnight. Would the number of our kids who carry an unhealthful amount of extra weight plummet?
New Hampshire: GMO Labeling Bill Fails to Pass New Hampshire House
The House recently killed a bill that would have required labels on foods that are the product of genetic engineering. Several House members said that they heard from many constituents who supported the bill because they fear that there are health risks associated with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. But House members debated those health concerns, with the bill's opponents arguing that the risks have been exaggerated. "There's a lot of hysterical momentum behind this anti-GMO movement," said Rep. Jim Parison, a New Ipswich Republican.
New Jersey: Businesses Pressured To Pay for Sick Leave
New Jersey businesses are under increasing pressure to give workers paid sick leave, even as other states say employers do not have to offer the benefit. Cities such as Jersey City already require private businesses to offer accrued sick time for full-time employees. Now, state lawmakers want to extend the benefit — long considered an optional perk — to all 21 counties.