GMA URGES FDA TO TAKE ACTION ON ‘NATURAL’ LABELS: The Grocery Manufacturers Association, in a Dec. 5 letter, has called on FDA to craft a rule to define ‘natural’ claims on food labels, and is warning that it plans to file a petition in early 2014 to get the agency to allow GMO foods under that definition, POLITICO has learned. Action from FDA is needed to stem further litigation over ‘natural’ claims on labels and state efforts to craft their own definitions, GMA argues in its six-page letter.

“These forces are converging to create a patchwork of ‘state-by-state’ laws that are not only inconsistent with each other, but are directly at odds with FDA’s stated policy on the labeling of foods derived from biotechnology,” the letter states. “GMA is concerned that differing state laws and judicial decisions will inevitably confuse consumers and impose unnecessary costs on the food industry.” The letter is available here: http://politico.pro/1bIOL5C

HO– USE PASSES ONE-MONTH FARM BILL EXTENTION: The House approved a one-month extension of the 2008 farm bill with a voice vote late yesterday. In a brief debate preceding the vote, Rep. Frank Lucas, one of the four principal farm bill negotiators, argued that the extension he proposed was necessary to calm the public’s fears that letting the current 2008 farm bill expire would result in rising milk prices.

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