Keller Heckman

On January 16, 2019, the White House re-nominated Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Acting-Chair Ann Marie Buerkle to be Chairman, and for another seven-year term as Commissioner. Acting Chair Buerkle was first nominated in July of 2017, and re-nominated in January of last year, but the Senate did not act on these nominations. The business community has been very supportive of Ms. Buerkle’s nomination. As Acting Chair, Buerkle has worked hard to secure funding for…
The United State Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) published “How Safe is Our Food? Recent trends and case studies, and what they mean for our health”, a review and commentary of the food safety system in the United States.  PIRG reviewed trends in food safety, with an emphasis on recalls, as well as case studies of seven recent recalls. Of note, PIRG points to the increased number of recalls as evidence that the…
This Update is intended for enterprise IT, telecom, procurement staffs, and in-house counsel responsible for telecommunications management and procurements, focusing on strategies to maximize savings and optimize services to meet projected enterprise requirements. Industry Consolidation XO Communications is now part of Verizon, CenturyLink has acquired Level 3, and, among the cable operators, Charter has acquired Time Warner Cable.  The environment is more favorable for multinationals that can look to Orange, BT, Tata, or Telefonica to…
During the November 2018 election, California voters passed a ballot initiative known as Proposition 12, which establishes new standards for confinement of certain farm animals and bans the sale of products that do not comply with the new confinement standards.  The ballot initiative amended an existing California Health and Safety Code section, Chapter 13.9 (“Farm Animal Cruelty”).  The original law imposed minimum space requirements based on animal movement (e.g., ability to fully extend limbs) for calves…
As previously reported on this blog, the partial federal government shutdown stalled FDA’s ability to conduct routine inspections of domestic food facilities.  However, as of January 15, FDA resumed inspections of food facilities that produce high risk foods, such as cheeses, other dairy products, seafood, produce, and infant formula, which had been stopped as a result of the federal government shutdown.  These high risk foods account for about one-third of FDA’s 8,400 annual routine…
Introduced January 10, 2019, Nebraska Legislative Bill 14 would prohibit “misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from livestock or poultry.” The bill, which was referred to the Agriculture Committee on January 14, was introduced by Sen. Carol Blood. “I’m not bringing this bill to tell people what they can and can’t eat. All I’m asking for is truth in advertising. It’s clear that meat comes from livestock, and livestock is our livelihood in…
As previously reported on this blog, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses that were likely linked to romaine lettuce. This latest outbreak, which began in the Fall 2018, is not related to the E.coli outbreak that occurred in the Spring 2018. We’ve previously covered the Spring 2018 outbreak, which was officially declared over on…
As previously covered on this blog, without either a fiscal year 2019 appropriation or a Continuing Resolution, a partial government shutdown, which began on December 22, 2018, has continued to impact both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As of the time of this blog’s publication, the government has been partially shut down for over 20 days. Most recently, in a Twitter thread, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb…
Following on its 2015 sodium warning regulation, New York City is considering a bill that would require chain restaurants to display a warning symbol and related text next to menu offerings that are high in added sugar.  “Added sugar” is defined as “sugars and syrups put into foods during preparation or processing.” The bill, which was introduced this month, would require a graphic icon and a warning statement (explaining the consequences of excess added sugar…
Funding for a portion of the federal government expired on December 21, 2018, beginning a partial federal government shutdown.  The agencies affected by the lapse in funding include the FCC.  While the FCC managed to hang on longer than some of the other agencies affected, the Commission suspended operations starting mid-day on January 3, 2019. During the suspension, some of the FCC’s filing databases remain available, but FCC staff is not working and will not…