Weekly Roundup 6.13.14

It is hot.  It is humid.  Mosquitoes have begun to make their presence known.  Thunder and rain showers occur almost daily.  Summer is truly here.  And we are making our way rapidly to my favorite day of the year – the day with the longest daylight is just over a week away. Seems like only yesterday I was lamenting about the lack of daylight.

The summer seems off to a slow start, but here are a few things of note from the week:

  • Cheese – Yes cheese.  It was a main topic for the week.  There was a groundswell of reaction to reports that FDA was moving to disallow artisan cheese makers to use wood shelving when aging their product.  Certainly my Facebook page lit up on both sides of the Atlantic with comments that included a good deal of scorn related to this news.  The reaction reached such a pitch that the agency responded by posting a clarification on its Website stating the following:  “To be clear, we have not and are not prohibiting or banning the long-standing practice of using wood shelving in artisnal cheese….The communication was not intended as an official policy statement, but was provided as background information…”  Thank goodness, the matter is apparently laid to rest.
  • Fish. Yes, it is all about food this week.  While the cheese issue was being resolved, FDA and the EPA joined together to issue notice that they have concluded that pregnant women, those women who might become pregnant, and young children should eat more fish that is lower in mercury in order to gain developmental and health benefits.  While the agencies had previously cited a maximum amount, they had not cited a minimum amount of fish to consume.  The notice came after an analysis of consumption data showed that out of 1,000 pregnant women, 21 percent had eaten no fish the previous month and those who did were eating small amounts.  The updated advice recommends 8-12 ounces per week.  Lower mercury choices were listed as shrimp, pollock, salmon, cannled light tuna, tilapia, catfish and cod.
  • OPDP Issues Only 4th Untitled Letter for the Year – For those of us watching the edicts of the Office of Prescription Drug Promotion closely, we are left wondering what is going on at that office.  OPDP in 2014 has proceeded with enforcement at a record slow pace, issuing only the 4th letter of the year this week. Normally by this time of the year they would have issued at least twice that many, judging by the past few years.  It is noteworthy because guidances and these letters are two of the only insights that the outside world has into understanding policy from FDA – and there has not been much of either.

That’s it for me this week.  Have a good weekend everyone.

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