In the NEWS

Study Finds Red Meat has Neutral Effect on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors.   Consuming ?0.5 servings of total red meat/d does not influence blood lipids and lipoproteins or blood pressures.” according to a new review of clinical trials from Purdue University.  Specifically, the researchers found that consuming more than half a serving per day of red meat, which is equivalent to a three-ounce serving three times per week, did not worsen blood pressure and blood total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglyceride concentrations, which are commonly screened by health-care providers as indicators of cardiovascular disease risk.  In addition, the researchers concluded that previous studies underpinning recommendations to limit red meat intake are inconsistent and have mostly examined associations, not causation, between red meat and cardiovascular disease risk.


NPD Research Reveals 2017 Food Trends.  New research by NPD Group reveals the top trends likely to drive food and beverage purchase and consumption decisions in 2017.  The research found that consumers are increasingly drawn to brands and companies that support causes and actions aligned with their values.  Specifically, most consumers support companies that source local ingredients, donate to charities, uphold sustainable environmental practices or demonstrate a commitment to animal welfare practices.  Consumers are also expected to adopt healthy eating plans that meet their personal interests and lifestyles.  Furthermore, NPD found that consumers’ use of retailers’ websites or third-party sites to purchase foods and beverages will likely grow.  In addition, consumers’ demand for freshness will increase their propensity to cook meals at home, relying on restaurants for side dishes and appetizers.



Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed in 2015 for Use in Food-Producing Animals Rose One Percent.  U.S. sales and distribution of antibiotics approved for use in food-producing animals increased one percent from 2014 to 2015, according to an annual report released by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The one percent increase represents the lowest annual increase since 2009.  The percentage of those antimicrobials that are considered medically important in human medicine rose by two percent from 2014 through 2015.  Medically important antimicrobials accounted for 62 percent of the domestic sales of all antimicrobials approved for use in farm animals in 2015, the report found.

Section 105 of the Animal Drug User Fee Amendments of 2008 (ADUFA 105) requires antimicrobial drug sponsors to report to FDA annually the amount of antimicrobial drugs they sell or distribute for use in food-producing animals.  This sales and distribution information does not necessarily represent, however, use of the products.

The FDA’s Guidance for Industry #213, which pertains to medically important antimicrobials used in the feed or water of food-producing animals, established a target date of December 31, 2016, for drug sponsors to voluntarily make changes to affected products to remove production indications (growth promotion and feed efficiency) and move the products from over-the-counter availability to veterinary feed directive or prescription status.

Now that these changes have taken effect, use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion is illegal and the remaining therapeutic uses for the treatment, control or prevention of a specifically identified disease are limited to use under veterinary oversight.


FDA Extends Compliance Date for Final Menu Labeling Rule.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) extended the compliance date for the final rule requiring disclosure of certain nutrition information for standard menu items in restaurants and retail food establishments to align it with the rule’s enforcement date.  Covered establishments are now required to comply with the final rule by May 5, 2017.  The final menu labeling rule requires restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations conducting business under the same name and offering for sale substantially the same menu items to provide calorie and other nutrition information for standard menu items, including food on display and self-service food.


USDA Develops Program to Assess Animal Welfare Standards and Programs.  The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) developed a program to assess independent animal welfare standards and programs to determine if they conform to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Specification (TS) 34700 – Animal Welfare Management/General Requirements and Guidance for Organizations in the Food Supply Chain.  The ISO TS applies to terrestrial animals bred or kept for the production of food or feed, and was developed to ensure that food-producing animals are raised, transported and processed humanely.  The TS also establishes a framework for industry animal welfare standards and programs to verify that they are rooted in science and can be widely accepted.

AMS is inviting organizations interested in this program to review USDA ISO TS 34700 Animal Welfare Assessment.  AMS will work with interested organizations to develop additional program materials including audit checklists.  Programs will be verified through routine independent and onsite audits by AMS to ensure they meet the requirements of ISO TS 34700.   


FDA Extends Comment Period to Redefine ‘Healthy’ Claim for Food Labeling.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is extending the comment period for a docket to receive information and comments on the use of the term “healthy” in the labeling of human food products.  Comments are due by April 26, 2017.

Redefining “healthy” is part of an overall plan to provide consumers with information and tools to enable them to easily and quickly make food choices consistent with public health recommendations and to encourage the development of healthier foods by the industry, according to FDA.  Food manufacturers can continue to use the term “healthy” on foods that meet the current regulatory definition while FDA considers how to redefine the term as a nutrient content claim.


International Trade

FSIS Revises Instructions Regarding Signatures on Export Certificates to Canada.  The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced the upcoming availability of revised FSIS Form 9135-3, “Certificate for Export of Meat and Poultry Products,” and instructs inspection program personnel (IPP) regarding who can sign the new form for exports intended for Canada.  Beginning February 1, 2017, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will permit non-veterinary IPP to sign FSIS Form 9135-3 for exports to Canada.  Previously, CFIA required a veterinary signature on the form.


USTR Takes Action to Address European Union’s ‘Unfair’ Trade Practices Against U.S. Beef Industry.  The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is taking initial action to reinstate more than $100 million in tariffs on European Union (EU) products exported to the U.S., in response to the EU’s violation of the duty-free beef quota established to compensate the U.S. for losses arising from the EU’s ban on the use of hormones in beef production.  Specifically, USTR has scheduled a public hearing February, 15, 2017, to assess the possible impact of tariff reinstatement on U.S. consumers and small- and medium-sized businesses.  USTR contends that the EU’s trade practices unfairly discriminate against U.S. beef imports, and that the ban is not based on sound science.

In 1998, the EU lost a case at the World Trade Organization for banning American beef, and in 2009, the U.S. negotiated an agreement to allow a modest degree of market access for specially-produced beef that meets the EU’s standards, but that agreement has not worked as intended.


Education, Meetings and Events

Meat Institute to Host Mythcrushers Workshop at IPPE.  The Meat Institute , a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, will host “Get the Facts With Meat Mythcrushers” February 1, 2017, as part of its education programming at the International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Georgia.  The session will introduce attendees to NAMI’s Meat Mythcrushers video series, which uses referenced facts and industry experts in the areas of affordability, animal welfare, antibiotics, environment, food safety, meat processing, nutrition and livestock handling to crush some of the most common myths to help consumers make informed choices.  The session will feature NAMI Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Janet Riley and Vice President of Public Affairs Eric Mittenthal, and will focus specifically on meat and meat processing and animal production and slaughter myths to provide attendees with the tools needed to talk to consumers and customers about food production practices.  For more information about the Meat Mythcrusher series and to view all available videos, click here.


Veal Quality Assurance

Veal Quality Assurance Technical Review Begins

The Veal Quality Assurance (VQA) program will begin its technical review process this month with industry representatives and veterinarians. Research continues to show increasing interest from consumers regarding animal care which make implementation of VQA industry-wide imperative. Would you like to be a part of the review process?  If so, please contact Donna Moenning at to learn more.  The review process and program update is expected to be complete by this spring.  If you have questions or need VQA materials, visit or contact Donna directly.


2017 is the year to complete the move to group housing

The American Veal Association (AVA) passed a resolution in 2007 calling for the industry to shift to group housing in ten years. As 2017 begins, there has been significant progress made by AVA member companies and others in transitioning to group housing  — 10% in 2007 to 90% as 2017 begins. The AVA board recently re-affirmed their commitment to the 2007 resolution to fully transition to group pens by December 31, 2017. In addition, the AVA encourages all U.S. veal producers to support this resolution and shift to group housing by year-end.

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