New regs for Friday: Food safety, energy efficiency, disability

Friday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for food safety during transit, jobs for people with disabilities, and energy efficiency standards for commercial and industrial pumps. 

Here's what is happening:

Food safety: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is delaying a food safety rule that would establish new sanitary requirements for the companies transporting the food. The rule would apply to companies that carry food on ships, trucks or trains.

The FDA announced the rule in February, but said Thursday it is extending the comment period through July 30 to give interested parties more time to consider the proposed rule. 

The rule would require transporters to refrigerate the food as well as clean the vehicles between loads, among other things.

Jobs: The Department of Education is looking to review federally-funded state programs that help people with disabilities find jobs to determine how effective they are.

The Education Department's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) announced Thursday it is considering new methods for evaluating the success of the state programs it funds.

"We intend this priority to contribute to improved employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities," the NIDRR wrote.

The public has 30 days to comment.

Efficiency: The Department of Energy is turning its attention to new energy efficiency rules for commercial and industrial pumps.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced the rules in January, but said Thursday it is adding a third day of meetings this summer to hear from the public about the potential impact of the proposed rule. 

Six public meetings will now take place between June and July, the agency said.

Refrigerators: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is loosening the regulations on certain certain refrigerant substitutes, the agency announced Thursday. 

The EPA said it is moving forward with a rule that will allow certain refrigerant substitutes to use venting, release and disposal features, which were previously prohibited, because the agency does not believe it poses a threat to the environment.

The rule goes into effect in 30 days.

Disability: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is moving forward with a rule that will allow contractors receiving federal funds to build homes with alternative accessibility standards for disabled people.

HUD requires that any homes built with the agency's funds include accessibility features for disabled people. But the agency said Thursday that contractors can pursue alternative accessibility options. 

The rule goes into effect immediately.