• From Axios:
"The U.S. economy grew at an annualized 2.9% rate in the final months of 2022, the Commerce Department said on Thursday.
"Why it matters: Economists are bracing for a significant slowdown in economic activity as the Federal Reserve's interest rates hikes take hold, but that certainly wasn't the case in the final months of last year.
"Economists expected the Gross Domestic Product figures to show the economy grew at a 2.6% annualized rate last quarter, after expanding at a 3.2% pace in the prior quarter."
Axios notes that "the first half of 2022 was dogged by fears that the economy had entered a recession, after back-to-back quarters of contractions. But by the second half of the year, the economy had returned to growth mode.
"The growth over 2022 was an expected slowdown from the 5.9% achieved in 2021, when the economy bounced back from the pandemic shock."
• The World Health Organization (WHO) has renewed its call for the global elimination of the use of trans fats in foods.
Here's what it said:
"Five billion people globally remain unprotected from harmful trans fat, a new status report from WHO has found, increasing their risk of heart disease and death.
"Since WHO first called for the global elimination of industrially produced trans fat in 2018 – with an elimination target set for 2023 – population coverage of best-practice policies has increased almost six-fold. Forty-three countries have now implemented best-practice policies for tackling trans fat in food, with 2.8 billion people protected globally.
"Despite substantial progress, however, this still leaves 5 billion worldwide at risk from trans fat’s devastating health impacts with the global goal for its total elimination in 2023 remaining unattainable at this time.
"Industrially produced trans fat (also called industrially produced trans-fatty acids) is commonly found in packaged foods, baked goods, cooking oils and spreads. Trans fat intake is responsible for up to 500,000 premature deaths from coronary heart disease each year around the world."
“Trans fat has no known benefit, and huge health risks that incur huge costs for health systems,” said WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “By contrast, eliminating trans fat is cost effective and has enormous benefits for health. Put simply, trans fat is a toxic chemical that kills, and should have no place in food. It’s time to get rid of it once and for all.”
• DC Velocity reports that the Consumer Brands Association (CBA) has endorsed "a bipartisan bill launched in Congress today that aims to deliver “a sweeping overhaul of the interstate trucking supply chain system” by bringing more drivers into the sector.
"According to its sponsors, the 'Safer Highways and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking (SHIP IT) Act' would increase safety and shipping capacity for truckers; provide recruitment and retention incentives for drivers; and include flexibility during times of emergencies or black swan events. It was introduced by U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Jim Costa (D-CA).
"If successful, the bill would follow a flurry of transportation-related bills that became law in the first two years of the Biden Administration, including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA), and Inflation Reduction Act. In additional moves, the White House introduced efforts to boost truck driver job recruitment, improve data sharing among supply chain partners through the FLOW platform, and forced a resolution to a threatened freight rail strike."
• From Bloomberg:
"Mexico’s proposed changes to a planned ban on imports of US corn are insufficient, the Biden administration warned, saying that it continues to consider all of its rights to respond under the free-trade agreement between the nations.
"'Mexico’s proposed approach, which is not grounded in science, still threatens to disrupt billions of dollars in bilateral agricultural trade, cause serious economic harm to US farmers and Mexican livestock producers, and stifle important innovations needed to help producers respond to pressing climate and food security challenges,' the US Trade Representative’s office said in a statement."
In 2020, Mexico "announced plans to phase out genetically modified yellow corn for livestock feed by early 2024," the story notes.