Food lobby reborn as packaged goods groupJanuary 14, 2020
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— The Consumer Brands Association launches today as successor to the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The new group is changing course to focus on the broader packaged goods sector, following a crackup among major food firms that diminished GMA’s once-mighty influence in Washington.
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— The Agriculture Department’s plan to overhaul pork slaughterhouse inspections was hit with another lawsuit on Monday. Environmentalists and food safety advocates are challenging the final rule for its potential impact on consumers, rather than concerns about plant worker safety that have prompted other lawsuits.
— As the U.S. and China prepare to sign their “phase one” trade deal on Wednesday, the two sides are exchanging goodwill gestures and warning shots. That includes some tough talk by President Donald Trump’s hawkish trade adviser about reimposing tariffs on Chinese products.
FOOD LOBBY REBORN AS PACKAGED GOODS GROUP: The CBA officially launches today, promising to serve as a “relentless advocate for product affordability, access and innovation” and “eliminating consumer confusion,” the group announced. It’s the symbolic end of the Big Food era in Washington, as our Helena Bottemiller Evich wrote in October.
The GMA, which was established over 100 years ago, started splintering amid deep disagreements in the industry over sodium reduction efforts, mandatory GMO-labeling and more, prompting a dozen major foodmakers to quit the association two years ago.
The new focus on consumers is fitting, given the game-changing role that buyers played in reshaping the food sector by demanding more transparency about what they’re eating.
Geoff Freeman, CBA’s president and CEO, emphasized that the course correction is bigger than just a rebranding effort. “The Consumer Brands Association is an entirely new organization with a focused, compelling agenda that establishes the industry as a champion of the billions of consumers it serves daily,” he said in a statement, citing the consumer packaged goods industry’s $2 trillion economic output and more than 20 million jobs.
SWINE SLAUGHTER PLAN DRAWS ANOTHER LAWSUIT: Food & Water Watch and the Center for Food Safety are challenging USDA’s overhaul of pork plant inspections, claiming the changes will raise the risk of allowing tainted meat into the…