The veal Summer Grilling Sweepstakes has received over 150,000 entries and over 130,000 visits to the vealmadeeasy website. Winners to be announced mid-September.



FSIS Announces Changes to Improve Humane Handling of Veal Calves.  The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a final rule amending its humane handling inspection regulations at facilities that produce veal meat.  FSIS will now require that veal calves that are brought to slaughter but cannot rise and walk be promptly and humanely euthanized, and prohibited from entering the food supply.  Previously, FSIS allowed veal calves that are unable to rise from a recumbent position to be set aside and warmed or rested, and presented for slaughter if they regain the ability to walk.  FSIS says the change would also ensure compliance with the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act by improving the treatment of veal calves, as well as enhancing inspection efficiency by allowing FSIS inspection program personnel to devote more time to activities related to food safety.

FSIS also removed a provision that requires ante-mortem inspection to be conducted in pens.  Instead, the final rule gives FSIS inspectors the authority to conduct ante-mortem inspection and condemn non-ambulatory disabled veal calves the moment they arrive on an establishment’s premises.

The final rule becomes effective September 16, 2016.

President Signs GMO Labeling Bill.  President Barack Obama signed into law a genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling bill that will preempt state GMO labeling laws and establish a mandatory GMO labeling program within USDA.  Both the House and Senate passed the legislation in July.

The bill will require food companies to provide on-package labeling, on-package electronic labeling or a symbol that would be developed by USDA to disclose genetically engineered ingredients.  The bill exempts most basic meat and poultry products, such as muscle cuts, ground product and processed product in which the predominant ingredient is meat or poultry.  The bill also prohibits meat and dairy products derived from animals that had been fed biotech feed from being considered “bioengineered” solely because the animal consumed bioengineered feed.

The legislation preempts Vermont’s GMO labeling law, which took effect July 1.

FDA Issues Draft Guidance for Assessing Human Health Risks from Animal Drugs.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed revisions to its guidance for drug manufacturers to assess whether animal drug residues in food pose a risk to humans.  The draft guidance describes the type of information that FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) recommends sponsors provide to address the human food safety of new animal drugs used in food-producing animals.  The FDA indicated that the draft guidance, which replaces a 2006 version, provides updated science and assists companies in determining when the residue of a new animal drug in or near food “presents a reasonable certainty of no harm to humans.”  Public comments on the guidance are being accepted through September 19, 2016.

FDA Issues FSMA Final Rule to Update Food Facility Registration.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the Amendments to Registration of Food Facilities final rule, which requires food facilities to submit registrations to FDA in an electronic format, and codifies the requirement that facilities renew their registrations with FDA every two years.  Registrations will now be required to contain the type of activity conducted at the facility for each food product category, effective July 14, 2016.  The electronic registration requirements, however, take effect January 4, 2020.

The final rule also amends the definition of a “retail food establishment” such that it expands the number of establishments not required to register with FDA as food facilities.  Further, the final rule adds new provisions to comply with regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act, including requiring an e-mail address for registration and an assurance from food facilities that FDA will be permitted to inspect the facility at the times and in the manner permitted by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

USDA Proposes Changes to Beef Checkoff Program.  The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) proposed changes to the beef checkoff program to allow producers to request that their assessments currently paid to a qualified state board or council be redirected to the national program.  In most cases, a state board or council collects and retains a portion of assessments from producers.  The state boards and councils then forward the remainder of the assessments to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, which administers the national programs.

For producers to be able to request that their assessments be redirected from the state organization to the national program, they must be in a state where there is either no state law requiring assessments to a state board or council or where a state law requires assessments, but the state law allows for refunds.

Comments regarding the proposed changes are due by September 13, 2016.



Earning Consumer Trust with VQA

The Veal Quality Assurance (VQA) Program enables the veal industry to assure their customers that veal is being raised and produced ethically, humanely and with the highest standards for quality and food safety in mind.  VQA provides guidelines for what practices should be implemented. A signed Veterinarian-Client-Patient-Relationship helps to confirm that practices are being followed. The Center for Food Integrity consumer trust research indicates practices are values in action, and values drive trust. Are you VQA certified?  Veal growers need to be certified every two years.  VQA materials can be accessed by visiting



Registration for Listeria Conference Now Open. The North American Meat Institute will conduct its Advanced Listeria monocytogenes Intervention and Control Workshop October 18-19, 2016, in Kansas, City, Missouri.  The conference will provide an overview of the latest developments in Listeria control processes and the regulatory environment.  The workshop will also include hands-on demonstrations, breakout sessions and case studies designed to assist attendees in implementing the most effective and current Listeria control strategies in their establishments.  For more detailed program information and to register to attend the workshop, click here.

Registration Open for Animal Handling Conference.  The North American Meat Institute will conduct its annual Animal Care and Handling Conference October 13-14, 2016, in Kansas City, Missouri.  The workshop is designed to help companies improve productivity, efficiency and product quality, and will offer an overview of the most current humane handling and stunning practices.

Co-sponsoring organizations include American Association of Bovine Practitioners, American Association of Meat Processors, American Meat Science Association, Animal Agriculture Alliance, Canadian Meat Council, Chicago Midwest Meat Association, Food Marketing Institute, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Dairy FARM Program, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Board, Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization, Inc., Southeastern Meat Association, Southwest Meat Association and US Poultry.

For more detailed program information and to register to attend the conference, click here.



More than 60 food safety professionals gathered during the International Association of Food Protection Meeting to continue the dialogue regarding the use of next generation sequencing technology to improve food safety.   Attendees had the opportunity to hear reflections from industry representatives who participated in the April meeting on this topic.  In addition, technical and potential regulatory considerations for adoption of this technology were shared.  The meeting concluded with open dialogue and attendee input on research needs and data gaps specific to the use of whole genome sequencing in the food industries.  The discussion summary will be used for further outreach and research priority development.

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