The annual Beef Checkoff funded Eat Better Eat Veal promotion will launch on January 18, 2017.  There are seven chains and One thousand, seven hundred and forty-six retailers that will be participating in the upcoming promotion.  Over 200,000 on-pack labels will be distributed at the participating retailers.

For webs ads, ad slicks and a social media calendar for in-store circulars, retailer/SBC website and Facebook pages go to VealMadeEasy.
We look forward to another successful New Year promotion.


Meat Consumption Critical for Good Health, Development. 

Meat consumption helps build muscle protein and protects against muscle loss in the elderly, according to research published in the Journal of Animal Science.  The researchers, who examined the composition of amino acids in certain beef cuts, found that animal meat contains beneficial antioxidants, such as taurine and carnosine, which are extremely important for the gut, skin, heart, eyes and other organs.  The researchers stressed that antioxidants found in meat are essential for children and are conditionally essential for adults to maintain retinal and cardiac functions.  Children, in particular, need meat to ensure proper muscle, bone and organ growth and development, according to the article.



FSIS Proposes Revisions to Nutrition Facts Label for Meat and Poultry Products.  The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued an advance copy of a proposed rule to amend the nutrition labeling requirements for meat and poultry products and align them, to the extent possible, with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) revised Nutrition Facts label.

Specifically, FSIS is proposing to update the list of nutrients required or permitted to be declared; provide updated Daily Reference Values and Reference Daily Intake values based on current dietary recommendations from consensus reports; amend the definition of a single-serving container; require dual-column labeling for certain containers; and revise the format and appearance of the Nutrition Facts label.  FSIS also proposed modifying several reference amounts customarily consumed and is proposing to consolidate the nutrition labeling regulations for meat and poultry products into a new Code of Federal Regulations part.  In addition, the proposed rule includes amendments to the labeling requirements for foods aimed at children under age four and pregnant and lactating women, and recommends establishing nutrient reference values for these population subgroups.

There will be a 60-day comment period once the proposed rule publishes in the Federal Register.


FSIS Extends Comment Period Regarding Proposal to Hold Truckers, Others Responsible for Inhumane Treatment at Plants.  The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) extended the comment period to January 24, 2017, concerning a proposed policy change, Inhumane Handling of Livestock in Connection with Slaughter by Persons Not Employed by the Official Establishment, which would hold livestock owners, transporters, haulers and other persons not employed by an official establishment responsible when they are involved in inhumane treatment of livestock on an official establishment’s premises.  The comment period was originally set to close on November 25, 2016.  The notice also provides that if a “non-employee” and an establishment employee are both engaged in a humane handling violation, FSIS will initiate action against the non-employee and take the appropriate regulatory control or administrative enforcement action against the establishment.


FDA Extends Comment Period Regarding Judicious Use of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs in Food-Producing Animals.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a notice extending the comment period regarding the agency’s plan to establish targeted durations for using medically important antimicrobial drugs for therapeutic purposes administered in the feed or water of food-producing animals.  The comment period was extended to March 13, 2017.  For additional information about the notice and to review comment submission instructions, click here.  FDA previously issued two Guidance for Industry documents, #209 and #213, detailing the agency’s approach to ensuring the judicious use of medically important antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals.  FDA asked six questions to gain insight on the appropriate duration of using medicated feed and water for food-producing animals.


FDA to Align Menu Labeling Compliance Date with Enforcement Date.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it will soon publish a final rule to formally extend to May 5, 2017, the compliance date for the agency’s 2014 menu labeling regulation, which requires disclosure of certain nutrition information for standard menu items in certain chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments. This extension will align the compliance date with the enforcement date.  The 2016 Omnibus Bill prohibited FDA from using appropriated funds to implement, administer or enforce the menu labeling requirements until one year after the agency finalized the draft September 2015 menu labeling guidance.


FDA Publishes Biennial Uniform Compliance Date for Food Labeling Regulations Issued in 2017-2018.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established January 1, 2020, as the uniform compliance date for food labeling regulations that are issued in calendar years 2017 and 2018.  This action does not change existing requirements for compliance dates contained in final rules published before January 1, 2017.  FDA periodically announces uniform compliance dates for new food labeling requirements to minimize the economic impact of the label changes on the food industry.


FSIS Posts First Sample Establishment-Specific Datasets.  The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) released the first two establishment-specific datasets covering Establishment Demographic Data, which supplements the existing Meat and Poultry Inspection Directory, and Ready-to-Eat (RTE) Meat and Poultry Sampling Data.  FSIS provided sample datasets and corresponding data dictionaries for comment in the October 7, 2016, Constituent Update prior to posting the actual data.  Additional details on establishment-specific datasets can be found here.


EPA Updates Requirements for RFS Volumes.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week announced finalized volume requirements that apply under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard Program (RFS) for calendar year 2017 for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel.  The EPA also finalized the volume requirement for biomass-based diesel for 2018.  The EPA stated that the finalized standards meet or exceed the volume targets specified by Congress for total renewable fuel, biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuel.  The finalized volume requirements for advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel also were higher than those proposed by the EPA in May.

The total renewable fuel volume requirement was set at 19.28 billion gallons, representing an increase of 480 million gallons from the May proposal, and 1.17 billion gallons higher than the 18.11 billion gallons set in 2016.  Of the required 19.28 billion gallons, 4.28 billion gallons were earmarked for advanced biofuel and 15 billion gallons will comprise “conventional” renewable fuel, primarily corn-based ethanol.  Under the May proposal, the ethanol volume requirement would have been 200 million gallons lower at 14.8 billion gallons.

The EPA left unchanged from May its volume requirements for biomass-based diesel in 2017 and 2018 at 2 billion gallons and 2.1 billion gallons, respectively.


FSIS Details Procedures for the Hazard Identification Team.  The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a directive describing the role of the Hazard Identification Team (HIT), which was established for managing the process of tracking, evaluating and prioritizing potential emerging or evolving food safety risks related to meat, poultry and egg products.  The directive also details the process by which an FSIS employee can submit an issue to HIT and the procedures HIT members should follow to address the issue.


FSIS Issues Notice Announcing 2017 Holiday Schedule.  The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced the 2017 federal holiday schedule.  In addition to providing a list of dates that employees will observe each holiday in 2017, FSIS explains the methods for determining the day of observance when a holiday falls on non-workday and the dates that employees observe holidays when their shifts span two calendar days.        


FSIS Seeks Nominations for National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria in Foods.  The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is soliciting nominations for membership on the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF).  There are 15 vacancies and Advisory Committee members serve a two-year term, renewable for two consecutive terms.  FSIS is seeking nominees with scientific expertise in the fields of microbiology, epidemiology, food technology (food, clinical and predictive), toxicology, risk assessment, infectious disease, biostatistics and other related sciences.  For more information regarding eligibility and the application process, click here.



Third Meeting to Review Process to Update Dietary Guidelines Announced.  The Committee to Review the Process to Update the Dietary Guidelines for Americans will hold a public workshop January 10, 2017, in Washington, D.C.  The Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine is currently conducting a study to review the process to update the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  The Committee will review ways to improve the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee selection process to provide more transparency, eliminate bias and include committee members with a range of viewpoints; ways   in which the Nutrition Evidence Library (NEL) is compiled and utilized, including whether NEL reviews and other systematic reviews and data analysis are conducted according to rigorous and objective scientific standards; ways systematic reviews are conducted on long-standing DGA recommendations, including whether scientific studies are included from scientists with a range of viewpoints; and ways the DGA can better prevent chronic disease, ensure nutritional sufficiency for all Americans and accommodate a range of individual factors.  For additional information on the meeting and to register, click here.  


Veal Quality Assurance 

Industry Seeks Clarity on Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD)

The American Veal Association is seeking clarity from FDA on how or if any water soluble products can be used for milk fed veal beginning on January 1, 2017.  Feed grade antibiotics were removed from use in milk fed veal with the April 2005 label changes announced in the Federal Register.

The announcement pushed all milk fed veal producers to rely on a VCPR with their veterinarians to prescribe what products may be used for treatment purposes.  The most commonly used products that were available at that time were water soluble antimicrobials.  With the implementation of the VFD, no extra-label use of the medicated feed will be allowed outside of the label packaging, which nearly all products exclude any approval for milk fed veal.  Currently, water soluble antibiotics are generally prescribed to treat groups of ill calves as the calves are managed in herds similar to groups of young pigs.  The use of water soluble antimicrobials lacks clarity, not only with milk fed veal farmers and veterinarians, but also for dairy heifer calf and bull calf farmers and veterinarians.

Clarification on the VFD is a key piece to be addressed in the Veal Quality Assurance program update planned for 2017.

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