Food Industry Keeps Close Watch on Trump’s Pick for Agriculture Secretary

Food IndustryAmericans have become more conscious of how the government sets standards for labels on food products, urging for better transparency from food makers.

As 2017 ushered in a new administration, the food industry and lobbyists alike are paying close attention to Trump’s pick for agriculture secretary, former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. The appointee will find himself in a tricky situation of balancing the public’s interests against those of the private sector and food organizations.

Regulatory Approach

Groups such as the North American Meat Institute, National Chicken Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and National Milk Producers Federation have praised Perdue’s appointment, believing that they have found an ally in the experienced veterinarian.

These lobbying groups expect Perdue to support their cause, such as repealing the new animal-welfare standards, which were finalized by the Department of Agriculture under the Obama administration. However, a survey by Glover Park Group and Morning Consult in December 2016 showed that it’s not just Democrats that want the government to draft standards for shrink sleeve labels, packaging, and others.

The poll revealed that 70% of Trump voters also want the new administration to impose transparency rules for food labels, including those that are considered to be organic.

North America

The food industry in Canada is also drafting its own strategy to streamline food labeling requirements. Its government plans to conduct reforms on nutrition labels over the next two years, with public feedback to help shape the revisions.

Some of the changes include disclosing the daily value percentage for sugar content, adding potassium to the list of nutrients, removing vitamin A and vitamin C, and requiring vitamins and minerals to be listed in both quantitative amounts and daily value percentage.

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will be in charge of implementing the changes within the industry over a five-year period until Dec. 14, 2021.