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WOTUS Final Rule Published; School Lunch, and Codex Comments Submitted

May 1, 2020

Highlighting a month of important regulatory activity extending beyond the coronavirus crisis, the long-awaited final Navigable Waters Protection Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States was published in the Federal Register by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army on April 21. Publication of a final rule culminated a fight for clarity and common-sense in rulemaking that put NMPF and other farm organizations at the forefront.

This final rule establishes the scope of federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule includes four simple categories of jurisdictional waters and provides specific exclusions for many water features that traditionally have not been regulated. Based on the expected publication date, the final rule would become effective on June 22, 2020. Information about the rule can be found on the EPA’s website at

NMPF also submitted comments to the docket, “Simplifying Meal Service and Monitoring Requirements in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program,” on April 15, emphasizing milk’s role in meeting nutrient requirements for children and restating our support for the program. The rule aims to increase flexibilities focused on customers and to help state and local program operators overcome operational challenges that limit their ability to manage programs efficiently. Two specific proposed changes included making it easier to offer meat alternates — which include dairy options — with no minimum grain requirement in the School Breakfast Program and expanding the sale of calorie-free flavored water for all ages and grades.

NMPF’s comments supported the meat alternate change but urged the agency to gather more data about the impacts on milk consumption – and, in turn, student nutrition — when finalizing the proposal to expand the sale of calorie-free flavored water, including carbonated varieties, to children as young as kindergarteners.

In addition to submitting comments to the school nutrition docket, NMPF submitted joint comments with USDEC to the Codex Task Force on Antimicrobials Resistance (TFAMR) Draft Guidelines on Integrated Monitoring and Surveillance of Foodborne Antimicrobial Resistance on April 3. The comments touched on the need for significant revision due to aspirational elements that, if presented as requirements, would be unobtainable for many developing countries and could be used as nontariff trade barriers without any impact on mitigating the risk of anti-microbial resistance transfer through the food chain.