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Responding to a request from Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and John Dingell (D-MI), on October 24, 2011, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report which examines how the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has addressed “economic adulteration” affecting the products it regulates and makes recommendations for strengthening regulatory and enforcement policies.

For purposes of the GAO evaluation and report, the GAO defined economic adulteration as “the fraudulent, intentional substitution or addition of a substance in a product for the purpose of increasing the apparent value of the product or reducing the cost of its production, i.e. economic gain.” The GAO study highlighted two specific cases of economic adulteration as indicators of the need for stronger policies to prevent economic adulteration of FDA regulated products. First, in 2007, vegetable protein products were found to contain melamine and cyanuric acid, industrial chemicals, in order to give the products an appearance of a higher protein content. The protein products were subsequently used in pet food and caused an unknown number of illnesses and deaths to dogs and cats. Notably, the melamine contamination case helped to inspire a number of food safety policy reforms, including the enactment of the Food Safety Modernization Act on January 4, 2011, which includes mandatory HACCP-type preventive controls and establishes new safeguards to prevent intentional adulteration of food products. The second case occurred in 2008, and involved the blood thinner known as heparin, which was found to contain oversulfated chondroitin sulfate, a toxic contaminant which was later linked to multiple human illnesses and deaths.


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On November 18, 2011, President Obama signed into law H.R. 2112, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act (Pub. L. 112-055), which, among other things, provides funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) for Fiscal Year 2012. The law includes policy “riders” blocking funding for key provisions of a rule proposed by USDA

On November 9, 2011, the Committee for the Right to Know, a consumer advocacy group that focuses on consumer, public health, environmental, and food issues, submitted the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act to the California state attorney general for title and summary–a necessary step needed to place citizen-created initiatives on the California

Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) approved a final settlement with marketers of the “Acne Pwner” and “AcneApp” mobile applications (“apps”). This is the first FTC settlement targeting health claims by mobile app developers/marketers, but one of several FTC mobile app enforcement actions.

In the AcneApp case, the defendants claimed that their apps could treat

Today, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) released a guidance document for industry titled “What You Need to Know About Administrative Detention of Foods.” The guidance comes just a week after the FDA announced its first administrative detention under the expanded authority granted by Congress in the Food Safety Modernization Act. The FDA will issue

On October 20, 2011, the Institutes of Medicine (“IOM”) issued Phase II of a two-part report regarding front-of-package nutrition labeling systems and symbols. The report, created by an IOM Committee convened in response to a 2009 Congressional request, provides recommendations regarding implementation of a front-of-package nutrition rating system designed to “encourage healthier choices and purchase

On October 19, 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) published a final rule amending its bottled water quality standard regulations by establishing an allowable level of di (2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (“DEHP”). The new DEHP limit and related requirements will take effect on April 16, 2012.
Under Section 410 of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”),

On June 23, 2011, the Supreme Court rendered its decision in Pliva, Inc. v. Mensing holding that FDA regulations governing generic drug products directly conflict with and preempt state laws that would require generic drug manufacturers to modify the FDA-authorized labeling for their products to provide "adequate warnings" as defined by state law. The Court