A recent post explained that many federal agency health and safety regulations must be sent for review to the Office of Management Budget (OMB), where they can be delayed or die at OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).
Sometimes regulations emerge from OIRA looking different from what they looked like when they arrived. The Center for Effective Government has just issued this report that focuses on OIRA's recent watering-down of an important food safety rule, but goes on to discuss OIRA's enormous power more generally. Here's a summary:
Recently disclosed documents show that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) weakened a proposed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food safety rule. During the regulatory review process, OIRA removed important safety testing requirements from the "preventative controls" rule, which were intended to prevent foodborne pathogens from entering the food supply. Unfortunately, this is nothing new. OIRA has a long track record of changing the draft rules it reviews, often weakening them to appease regulated entities. In this case, the public was made aware of the rule revisions only because FDA followed the requirement to disclose changes made during OIRA review.