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USDA Eliminates GIPSA as Standalone Agency, Moves CODEX

Monday, November 20, 2017

(North American Meat Institute)

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced USDA is proceeding with plans to move the U.S. Codex Office from the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to the Office of the Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs and to merge the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). The changes, outlined in a November 14 memo, are effective immediately. USDA, in October, delayed these proposed organizational changes in response to public comments that warranted further consideration.

According to the memo, Perdue eliminated GIPSA as a standalone agency and re-established it in the Fair Trade Practices program of AMS. The Fair Trade Practices Program, which will be overseen by a deputy administrator, will house the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Program, the Country of Origin Labeling Program and the Bioengineered Labeling Program. The Packers and Stockyards Program, formerly part of GIPSA, and the Warehouse Act functions, previously part of the Farm Service Agency (FSA), also will be transferred to AMS and included in the Fair Trade Practices Program area.

Meanwhile, USDA transferred the U.S. Codex Office from FSIS to the Office of the Under Secretary for Trade and Agricultural Affairs. The Codex Office manages the U.S.'s participation in the Codex Alimentarius, a global set of standards designed to protect food quality and safety, including the safe level of veterinary drug residues in meat and poultry.

In addition, Perdue eliminated the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) as a standalone agency, and instead announced the creation of a deputy administrator for CNPP within the Food and Nutrition Service, among other changes.

The Meat Institute, in October, submitted comments to USDA in support of the proposed organizational changes, including realigning the U.S. Codex Office with the newly created trade mission. The Meat Institute stated such a move will "elevate U.S. Codex engagement, enhance the visibility of the U.S. Codex Office in overall U.S. policymaking, and place a greater emphasis on U.S. strategic engagement with Codex, including the use of Codex objectives to ensure the use of science-based standards in the trading system."

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