The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a final rule amending its regulations on nutrition labeling to require that trans fats be declared in the nutrition label of conventional foods and dietary supplements starting Nov. 1, 2006.

Cottonseed oil isn't usually hydrogenated and doesn't usually contain trans fats, so a separate listing for trans fats should be helpful to cottonseed oil.

Group Attempts To Block Chinese Textile Imports

Fourteen fiber and textile organizations have joined forces in an effort to persuade the Bush Administration to self-initiate safeguards allowed under the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement to curb the flow of Chinese textile imports.

“The action our coalition is seeking is authorized if Chinese-origin textile or apparel products disrupt markets and threaten to impede the orderly development of trade,” says Mark Lange, National Cotton Council (NCC) president and CEO. “Members of the coalition unanimously agree markets are being disrupted as evidenced by reduced U.S. mill cotton consumption, textile mill bankruptcies and closings, and job losses in that sector.”

During the first 15 months following quota removal in January 2002, China's share of the U.S. market for these products increased from 9% to 45%. Some of the highest import growth rates were in eight cotton-containing categories, where the average rate of increase over the previous year was more than 640%, notes Gaylon Booker, a NCC consultant working with the coalition.

“China starts with a huge cost advantage due to its internal, non-market monetary policy,” says Lange. “The Chinese yuan is estimated to be undervalued by 40% and pegged to the dollar, meaning this huge advantage is locked in and the international community has not mustered the will to force China to float its currency.”

The coalition also urges the Bush Administration to take two other actions:

  • Maintain U.S. textile tariffs under the WTO until other nations reduce their tariff rates to U.S. levels.

  • Refuse to accept tariff preference levels (TPLs) in the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and similar agreements.

Including TPLs in the CAFTA and similar agreements would permit China and third world countries to transship textile components through signatory countries into the U.S. market duty free.

Cotton Farmers Send Letter To Congress

A letter signed by Cotton Belt farmers was delivered to members of Congress expressing “deep concern over the continued attacks on the new farm law.”

The letter calls for a stable, predictable and equitable U.S. farm policy, noting that it's not just about loan rates and payment limits, but also addresses renewable fuel policy and effective conservation programs.

The letter, available online at www.cotton.org, notes efforts to amend the Farm Bill, barely one year after enactment and before it is fully implemented, are already having a destabilizing effect. “If sustained, these attacks will divide the U.S. agricultural community, mislead the American public and ultimately result in the demise of one of this nation's most productive and valuable industries.”

Limiting access to a financial safety net is not in the best interest of the U.S. rural economy, production agriculture or the U.S. consumer, according to the letter. “Current farm law needs to remain intact.”

EPA Approves Aflatoxin-Fighting Tool

The EPA has approved biopesticides that reduce aflatoxin levels in cottonseed.

Aspergillus flavus, or AF 326, could mean a breakthrough in reducing aflatoxin in other crops, including corn and nut crops such as walnuts, almonds and peanuts. It uses the same technology that was developed in a partnership between the Arizona Cotton Research and Protection Council and USDA-ARS Plant Pathologist Peter Cotty.

Cottonseed can only be fed to dairy animals if it contains less than 20 parts per billion of aflatoxin. Farmers in Arizona and South Texas are discounted up to $30/ton for their cottonseed. More than 100,000 acres in Arizona and up to 500,000 acres in South Texas are affected by aflatoxin.