Policy-ish

FDA Tightens Food Rules As NIH Relaxes On Stem Cells

As the new team at the FDA launches its mid-summer clean-up, where better to start than the kitchen?

At a press conference later today, the agency is expected to take aim at food poisoning — salmonella and E.coli, in particular — by tightening the rules that govern how manufacturers handle eggs and improving the food tracking system so that it's easier to quickly trace contaminated ingredients to their source.

We can also expect tighter rules on the handling of produce by the end of this month, and tighter poultry inspections and standards by the end of the year, according to FDA and industry sources quoted by AP and Reuters. Still no word on how E.coli got into Toll House cookie dough at that plant in Danville, Virginia.

Meanwhile, with yesterday's announcement that the Obama administration has rolled back some restrictions on the federal funding of stem cell research, several cash strapped states are hoping to lure some of that research money and new jobs.

As the Detroit News reports:

Michigan researchers expect millions more federal dollars to come to Michigan, where previous restrictions meant $1 million went to three Michigan researchers in 2008.

The newly relaxed rules still do not support the creation of embryos for research purposes. Rather, they permit NIH to fund cell lines derived from unused embryos left over from the vitro fertilization process that would otherwise have been discarded. (Consent of the couples involved is still required.) Many if not most of the roughly 700 stem cell lines now in existance are expected to be newly eligible for use in federally funded research.

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