The Food and Drug Administration has extended the comment period for a proposal that would address the use of the term “natural” on food labels. The agency is now taking comments until May 10th of 2016. When FDA proposed the rule in November, it was asking for comment on whether it’s appropriate to define the term “natural;” if the agency should define the term; and how the agency should determine appropriate use of the term on food labels. Some federal courts also have requested administrative determinations from FDA, due to litigation between private parties; on whether food products containing ingredients produced using genetic engineering or foods containing high fructose corn syrup may be labeled as natural.

As California enters another year in a drought, a recent snowpack measurement does show signs of encouragement. The state’s Department of Water Resources says a late December snowpack measurement came in at 108 percent of average. At the site where California Governor Jerry Brown stood in April absent of snow, the state recently measured five feet of snowpack, which is 136 percent of average for December. The measurements give hope California can make progress against the drought this winter, particularly amid forecasts of a strong El Nino season. However, the results will not be known until April or May, when the snowpack typically peaks.

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