Tom Ewing’s Environmental Report

* Kitchen cabinet: Federal Register, last week: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it will take comments on the appropriate reference amount customarily consumed (RACC) for flavored nut butter spreads that can be used to fill cupcakes and other desserts, such as cakes and pastries. FDA recently issued a final rule updating these “reference amounts.” The agency received a citizen petition contending that ‘‘nut cocoa-based spreads’’ fall within the ‘‘honey, jams, jellies, fruit butter, molasses’’ category for RACC determination; or amend the regulation to establish a new RACC category for ‘‘nut cocoa-based spreads’’ with a RACC of 1 tablespoon (tbsp.). FDA is also responding to a request to amend serving size regulations to establish a RACC and product category for cupcake filling. Comments are due on or before January 3, 2017. [I’m not making this up. Here’s the reference number: FDA–2016–N–2938.]

* Department of confusion: A new report shows that our efforts to fight global warming are paying off in the biggest way yet
Optimistic. But, don’t get too happy: The world is racing to stop climate change. But the math still doesn’t add up
More headlines from that ol’ Internet. Sometimes you just have to wash your eyes out.

* I was researching a project in CA and came across an Environmental Impact Report from Kern County, CA. As you know, just 8 or 10 of these “environmental impact statement” types of documents, if ever printed in entirety, would fill every shelf in the Library of Congress. So, I was glad to see an Executive Summary. I clicked on it. Quick download: Executive Summary – 89 pages! Eighty-nine pages! LXXXIX pages! How is it that acceptable? Who signs somebody’s paycheck for that? Is it OK for the project manager, DOT directors, taxpayers (as if they even know about it)? No wonder people struggle and fumble with these issues. But it’s okay…Big Gubmint’s got your back on the cupcake filling!


Tom Ewing