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Veal Summit

Another successful Veal Summit was conducted at the DoubleTree-Hilton in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania on March 29th with more than 40 industry stakeholders in attendance. A warm welcome and introduction was given by Bill Sessions from the North American Meat Institute, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff.

A highlight of the Veal Summit was the attendance of the new chairman of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, Brett Morris. His active participation in the Summit events provided an opportunity for interaction with the industry and State Beef Council folks in attendance. Prior to the Veal Summit, Chairman Morris visited local veal growing and processing operations to gain a better understanding of the veal industry. His presentation updated the attendees on significant Checkoff activities.

Other presenters included Kevin Good, CattleFax, with a presentation on “Industry Structure and Market Outlook” and regulatory updates by Tiffany Lee, NAMI and Dale Bakke, American Veal Association. Janet Riley of NAMI brought us up to date on fake news “Making your Message Heard: Countering Rumors, Myths and Fake News”.   A recap of the “2017 Veal Promotions” was shared by Chris Marcocci, Streetmarc.  The group was introduced to Chef Dan D’Angelo and his students from Philadelphia Art Institute who shared their newly created veal recipes and what went into their development.

Lunch was sponsored by Marcho Farms and included dishes prepared from new recipes developed by Chef Dan and his students.  Dishes included Veal Cheesesteaks and Braised Veal Cheek Tacos.    DELICIOUS!! was the word around the luncheon.

The afternoon concluded with a recap on Veal Quality Assurance presented by Donna Moenning from Look East and Dr. Don Höglund who discussed “Busting Illusions: Everyday Illusions in Livestock Production; wrong, dangerous and counter-productive”. The Summit ended with a discussion on what’s next for Veal FY18.

For complete presentations go to:


Veal Quality Assurance

The Veal Quality Assurance program is getting an update thanks to the review and input of a 14-member technical review group.  Producers need to be re-certified every two years.  If you have producers that need re-certification, the new materials are expected to be available later this summer.

The goals of the update include:

  • Ensure the content is current, relevant, and science-based
  • Streamline Best Management Practices and assessment steps
  • Streamline the certification process
  • Ensure the program is embraced and implemented throughout the milk-fed veal industry

VQA specifically supports the Beef Board strategic initiative to “Certify and Verify Production Practices.” The Veal Quality Assurance (VQA) program provides producer education and a standard of certification to ensure veal calves receive quality care through every stage of life leading to a quality product that meets regulatory and customer expectations.

The current program materials can be accessed here: Veal Quality Assurance. For more information contact program manager, Donna Moenning at



FSIS Begins Verifying Grinding Log Compliance.  Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) investigators on April 1 began verifying compliance with the final rule requiring retailers that grind raw beef products to maintain records about their grinding activities.  The rule became effective June 20, 2016, and FSIS has been reviewing grinding logs at retail stores and educating retailers about the rule since October 1, 2016.  FSIS Office of Investigations, Enforcement and Audit field personnel will follow instructions in FSIS Directive 8010.1, Methodology for Conducting In-Commerce Surveillance Activities

EU Implements Electronic System for Certificates of Inspection.  The European Union (EU) is implementing a new system of electronic certificates of inspection for imports of organic products from the U.S. in the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) – the EU’s existing electronic system for tracking movements of food products across the EU.  TRACES facilitates the exchange of information between EU trading parties and control authorities, such as the Agricultural Marketing Service National Organic Program.

The implementation of updates to EU TRACES will digitize the certification documentation for organic products imported to EU member countries.  Under the current organic equivalency arrangement between the U.S. and the EU, certified operations must ship organic products with an EU certificate of inspection, completed by a USDA-accredited certifier.  EU TRACES becomes effective on April 19, 2017.  Once effective, U.S. certifiers will have an additional six months to adapt to using the system, during which paper and electronic certificates of inspection will coexist in the marketplace.  The system will become fully electronic beginning October 19, 2017, after which organic imports will be covered only by e-certification.

FSIS Extends Meat and Poultry Hotline Hours.  The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is extending the hours of its Meat and Poultry Hotline and Ask Karen chat services to increase the delivery of safe food handling and preparation information as detailed in the agency’s 2017-2021 Strategic Plan.  Effective immediately, the hotline (1-888-674-6854) will remain open for two additional hours, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time.  The hotline is a toll-free telephone service that assists in the prevention of foodborne illnesses by answering consumers’ questions about the safe storage, handling and preparation of meat, poultry and egg products.  Ask Karen is a 24-hour online service that provides answers to thousands of frequently asked questions and allows consumers to email or live-chat a food safety specialist during operating hours.

Trump Administration Considers Punitive Tariffs in EU Beef Dispute.  The Trump Administration is considering imposing tariffs of 100 percent on Perrier mineral water, Vespa motor scooters and Roquefort cheese in response to the European Union’s (EU) ban on American beef from hormone-treated cattle.  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 limited market access for specially-produced beef that meets EU standards.  The U.S. beef industry, however, has not gained the access established in the agreement because of increased imports under the duty-free quota from non-U.S. suppliers.



CDC Releases Updated Sodium Intake Data.  From 2013-2014 the average daily U.S. sodium intake was 3,409 milligrams, with 44 percent of sodium consumed from 10 food categories and 70 percent from 25 food types, according to research released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The data, collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, revealed that cold cuts and cured meats ranked fourth on the list of foods contributing to sodium intake among individuals aged two years or older; breads were the top contributor to dietary sodium consumption.  The survey found that a majority of sodium consumed was from food obtained at stores, yet sodium density was highest in food obtained at restaurants.  In addition, the research indicated that food categories contributing to sodium intake differ by racial and ethnic groups, with current data showing that non-Hispanic Asians consume a slightly more sodium-dense diet than that of non-Hispanic whites.

A case study published by the Meat Institute, however, explains that publicly-available nutrient data does not always reflect products that may actually be in the marketplace, given that improvements to products often take years to appear in the government’s nutrient content databases.  In particular, nutritional improvements made to convenient, prepared meats are not always adequately represented in the publicly-available nutrient content data, according to the case study.

New Study Reaffirms Animal Protein’s Role in Weight Loss.  A new study in the journal Clinical Nutrition reaffirms the role that animal protein can play in promoting weight loss. For six months, Spanish researchers studied 91 women (80 women completed the study) with a minimum body mass index of 27.5 to one of three different diets: 20 percent protein level; 27 percent protein or 35 percent protein (80 percent from animal protein.)  Approximately 65 percent of the women on the 35 percent protein diet lost 10 or more percent of body weight while only 33 percent in the 20 percent protein group lost ten or more pounds.  Significant decreases occurred in fat mass, lips and insulin resistance in the 35 percent protein group that could not be explained by weight loss.   Researchers concluded that the high protein diet “displayed an excellent safety profile and acceptability.”

NIFA Announces Funding for Antimicrobial Resistance and Sustainable Water Research Projects. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced $11 million in available funding for projects that mitigate antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Funding is made through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The AFRI program seeks to empower transdisciplinary teams to develop, refine, and disseminate science-based knowledge about food and agricultural management and production practices that can reduce or eliminate the risk of AMR.

NIFA also announced $34 million in available funding for projects that promote sustainable water use for food production, processing, and other competing uses.

Applications may only be submitted by eligible entities for each project. The deadline for applications on the AMR research projects is June 21, 2017. Sustainable water use letters of intent are due May 17. The deadline for applications is August 2, 2017.
IFSAC Issues New Strategic Plan. The Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC), a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), issued a new Strategic Plan for 2017-2021. Under the new plan, IFSAC will focus on continuing to improve estimates of the sources of foodborne illnesses and developing methods to estimate how these sources change over time. The three goals of the new strategic plan are to improve the use and quality of new and existing data sources; improve analytic methods and models; and enhance communication about IFSAC progress.

IFSAC was created in 2011 to improve coordination of federal food safety analytic efforts and address cross-cutting priorities for food safety data collection, analysis, and use. Its projects and studies aim to identify foods that are important sources of human illness focusing on four priority pathogens: Salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes and Campylobacter.

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