Time running out

The Clinton administration is running out of time to leave its imprint on federal policy. Continued partisanship and the current focus on the November elections make further legislation problematic, so in many cases the administration is using regulation and executive orders to achieve its goals.

Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman announced he will release the final organic standards by the end of the year. One of the main issues has been whether or not genetically-modified plants or products that contain GM ingredients qualify for an organic label. The USDA is also readying regulations requiring nutrition labeling on meat to include information on fat, calories and other nutrition measures. The government decided to push for mandatory labeling after concluding that voluntary labeling was not sufficiently widespread. A final rule is unlikely by year’s end, but the USDA hopes to issue a proposed rule and hold public hearings by then.

A new administration can always change the regulations and executive orders. But it is time-consuming and more often than not, is not attempted.

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