New regs for Friday: Apple exports, emissions standards at wood mills, fuel ratings

Friday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for apple exports, fuel ratings, textile labels on clothing and emissions standards at kraft pulp mills.

Here's what is happening:

Textile: The Federal Trade Commission is moving forward with changes to textile rules to streamline them with new international standards, the agency announced Thursday.

The new rules apply to the tags on clothes and other textiles. They will allow certain hang-tags to not disclose the product's full fiber content. They will also better address electronic commerce.

Existing rules require the tags to note the percentage of the textile's weight that is made up of fibers, as well as the name of the company and the country of origin where it was manufactured.

The FTC proposed the rule in November 2011 and is now moving forward with a final version of it.

The rule goes into effect in one month.

Fuel: The Federal Trade Commission is considering changes to the automotive fuel ratings and labeling requirements for ethanol gasoline blends. 

The proposed rules would change the disclosure requirements for ethanol, so consumers have more precise information about the concentration of the blend and the suitability for their vehicles.

The new rules would also allow for an alternative octane rating method that uses infrared sensor technology as a way to measure gasoline octane levels.

The rules were last updated in April 2011. The public has until June 2 to comment on the proposed rules.

Emissions: The Environmental Protection Agency is moving forward with new performance standards for kraft pulp mills, which convert wood chips into pulp so it can be turned into paper.

The new source standards apply to kraft pulp mills that began construction, reconstruction or modification anytime after May 23, 2013, and it removes an exemption for these plants during the start up and shutdown process and when they malfunction. 

The rules include particulate matter emissions limits for recovery furnaces, smelt dissolving tanks, and lime kilns. They also include opacity limits for recovery furnaces and lime kilns with electrostatic precipitators.  

They also require additional testing, monitoring, record keeping and reporting requirements, so the EPA can better access the data and ensure these kraft pulp mills are complying with the rules.

The rule goes into effect immediately.

Apples: The Department of Agriculture is relaxing export standards for certain apples.

The new rules, which go into effect immediately, will allow farmers to export apples to Canada in bulk containers that weigh more than 100 pounds without going through the inspection process.

The rules come from the Export Apple Act.

Records: The Food and Drug Administration is issuing guidance that grants the agency authority to access and copy industry food records.

This is an updated version of a 2005 guidance from the FDA.