By Joseph DeRupo, Director of External Relations, NCA
After a deeply divisive campaign, a new administration is poised to assume power in Washington, having been elected on a platform which has expressed skepticism toward big government and regulatory intervention.
The transfer of power has only just begun, cabinet and agency appointments are a still in progress, and budget negotiations are far off – including the implications of funding cutbacks or additions.
In the meantime, we’re preparing for the changes that may be ahead. Earlier this year, the NCA released the first-ever Economic Impact Study to measure the U.S. coffee economy, and the NCA’s 2017 plan already includes outreach in Washington to raise awareness of the industry’s importance. That outreach will now take on even greater significance as the coming months unfold.
The NCA will not speculate as to what these changes in Washington may mean for coffee. But it’s never too soon to begin planning, and here are some key issues on the industry’s docket:
Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
Final regulations are already in place, with most compliance deadlines still in the future. The legislation pivots the nation’s food safety focus from remediation to prevention.
Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act (TFTEA)
Legislation was signed earlier this year, but regulations have not yet been developed. The statute closes the consumptive demand exception that suspends rules against imports made with forced labor where they cannot be produced domestically in sufficient quantities to meet consumer demand.
Legislation was signed this summer that sets a national standard for GMO labeling and preempting state laws (like Vermont’s stricter measure), but regulations remain to be written.
While there is no known GMO coffee in the marketplace, coffee products containing whiteners, sweeteners and other additives could be affected.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Caffeine Initiative
The FDA continues to examine all sources of caffeine in the American diet. To date, the focus has been primarily on energy drinks, and the FDA has indicated it is not targeting coffee for regulation.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Pesticides
The EPA sets out minimum tolerances for pesticides specific to domestic and imported commodities, although since the coffee cherry is removed, pesticide residue has not been viewed as a major issue for coffee.
As the new administration’s appointments, budgets and priorities are rolled out, the NCA will continue to scrutinize them for potential effect on these docket items and others that may impact the coffee industry.
Questions? Get int touch – leave a comment below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.