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VEAL INDUSTRY UPDATE – 9.18.2017

PROMOTIONS

Grilled-Veal-Steak-FajitasThe Veal Summer Grilling promotion funded in part by the Beef Checkoff and Mushroom Council ended on September 5th with over 200,000 entries, 250,000+ visits and 550,000+ page views to the Veal Made Easy site. Mary M. from Charlotte, North Carolina was selected as the Grand Prize Winner.

Visit VealMadeEasy for a variety of delicious recipes and how-to videos. While you are on the site check out the retail section for recipe images, nutritional information, September social media calendar and more.

 

 

VEAL QUALITY ASSURANCE

The Veal Quality Assurance (VQA) program, originally created in 1990, certifies that farmers raising milk-fed veal follow science-based best management practices to ensure consumer confidence in the American veal supply. By voluntarily adopting the methods outlined in VQA, veal farmers demonstrate their commitment to the health and well-being of animals under their care while producing the high quality, humanely-raised and safe, quality meat expected by veal consumers. The program has been reviewed and updated three previous times. One of the most significant updates included the requirement of an established Veterinary Client Patient Relationship. A 14-member technical review committee has reviewed the current program once again to reflect the significant advancements that have occurred in the move to group housing. The updated VQA program will be available later this year. Veal farmers, and the companies they work with, must be recertified every two years. Watch for program updates on this website:  www.VealFarm.com

 

INDUSTRY UPDATES

Group Housing Goal Nears Reality

The veal industry took the high road and pledged in 2007 to move completely to group housing for milk-fed veal over a ten-year period. With only a few months remaining of 2017, American Veal Association (AVA) leaders are confident the goal will be realized. AVA members have invested more than $50 million in building new facilities as well as making renovations to existing buildings.

“We really believe this transition has improved the well-being of the animals,” said Dale Bakke, president of the AVA.

A variety of different systems house calves in groups ranging from as few as two up to groups of ten. Expressing natural behavior is among the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare and these new facilities allow calves to stand, stretch, lie down, groom themselves and socialize with other animals. On May 9, 2007 the AVA Board of Directors adopted a resolution calling for all U.S. veal producers to transition to group housing methods by December 31, 2017.

AVA members, which account for a significant majority of the milk-fed veal raised and processed in the U.S., have demonstrated their commitment to extremely high standards of animal stewardship through this transition to group pens. In addition, no castration, dehorning, tail docking or tethers are practiced on AVA member farms.

 

Meatingplace reports HSUS pursues cage-free pork, veal, egg production in Calif.

The Humane Society of the United States hopes to get on California’s November 2018 ballot an initiative that would prohibit the sale of products derived from pigs confined in gestation crates and veal from crated calves, in addition to requiring that eggs must come from cage-free birds. California voters in 2008 approved Proposition 2, which gave farmers until 2015 to comply with space requirements covering egg-laying hens. The law also covered breeding sows and veal calves to allow them to stand up, turn around and extend their limbs. The new measure specifically lists a space requirement of 43 square feet per calf with no mention of age or size of the calf. Read Meatingplace for more details. 

 

REGULATORY AFFAIRS 

FDA Releases Compliance Guide to Help Small Businesses Protect Food from Intentional Adulteration.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a guide to help small businesses comply with the Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration final rule mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act. The guidance provides recommendations to covered facilities regarding ways to develop and implement a food defense plan and details records requirements. Small businesses must comply with the Intentional Adulteration Final Rule by July 27, 2020. Very small businesses are exempt from the rule, except for a documentation requirement described in the guide with a compliance date of July 26, 2021.

 

USDA Releases Semiannual Regulatory Agenda. USDA released its Semiannual Regulatory Agenda, Spring 2017, which details significant and non-significant regulations under development at agencies within the department. The agenda also describes regulations affecting small entities as required by section 602 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, Public Law 96-354. In addition, the agenda identifies regulatory actions that are being reviewed in compliance with section 610(c) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

 

FSIS Launches New National Antimicrobial Monitoring System Webpage. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) launched a new webpage to organize and present findings from its National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) sampling programs. The newly launched NARMS webpage includes the 2014 NARMS Integrated Report, and will feature significant findings, such as antimicrobial susceptibility results and antimicrobial resistance trends. The webpage also contains previous USDA-NARMS related findings for the food animal component including annual reports, summary tables and graphs. NARMS is an interagency program developed to monitor, characterize and identify trends associated with antimicrobial resistant bacteria in meat and poultry products, retail meat and humans. More information about the new webpage is available here.

 

FDA Launches Food Safety Plan Builder to Help Businesses Comply with FSMA Requirements. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released new software designed to help owners and operators of food facilities comply with the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Final Rule for Preventive Controls for Human Food. The Food Safety Plan Builder (FSPB) is a free software application that businesses can download from FDA’s website to help them create a customized food safety plan, as required by FSMA.

To assist users, FDA developed an overview video describing the software and individual videos that demonstrate how to navigate the program’s various tabs. FDA also created a User Guide with chapters devoted to each tab. Questions regarding the Food Safety Plan Builder should be sent to FoodSafetyPlanBuilder@fda.hhs.gov.

Small businesses, or those with fewer than 500 full-time employees, must begin complying with the preventive controls rule by September 18, 2017. Very small businesses, or those averaging less than $1 million in annual sales, have until September 18, 2018, to comply with the full rule.

 

EPA, Army Corps Extend Comment Period for WOTUS Rule. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) extended the comment period for the proposed rule, “Definition of `Waters of the United States’ – Recodification of Pre-existing Rules.”  Public comments will now be accepted through September 27, 2017. The proposed rule would rescind the 2015 Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, which redefined and expanded the bodies of water subject to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The proposed rule also would reinstate the process that EPA and the Corps previously used to determine the waterways that receive CWA protection. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit last year blocked WOTUS implementation. This move by EPA and the Corps, therefore, would not trigger any immediate changes. The agencies are working on a new version of the rule that would include a narrower interpretation of the creeks, bogs and marshes subject to federal law.

 

FSIS Posts Revised Compliance for Label Approval. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) posted an update to the November 2015, “Compliance Guideline for Label Approval,” which details the types of labels and labeling that are required to be submitted to FSIS for approval, including specific examples of certain special statements and claims that are not generically approved. FSIS updated the guideline to include new examples of special statements and claims that must be submitted for approval; factual statements and claims that are generically approved; changes that can be made generically to labels previously approved with special statements and claims; and changes that cannot be made generically to labels previously approved with special statements and claims. The updated guideline also provides new information regarding the process to submit a label application for blanket approval. FSIS invited public comments on the revised guideline over the next 60 days.

 

FSIS Revises Directive on Substances Used in Meat, Poultry and Egg Production; Releases Web-Based Lookup Table. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a revised directive updating the list of safe and suitable ingredients used in the production of meat, poultry and egg products. This directive provides inspection program personnel (IPP) with an updated list of substances that may be used to produce meat, poultry and egg products and lists approved On-Line Reprocessing and Off-Line Reprocessing Antimicrobial Intervention Systems. FSIS added magnesium hydroxide and sulfuric and hydrochloric acid as pH control agents. In addition, FSIS added an aqueous mixture of dextrose, triphosphate, diphosphate fructose, ascorbic acid, citric acid and lactic acid for use as an antimicrobial agent to treat poultry, beef and pork. To view the complete table of safe and suitable ingredients, click here.

FSIS also released a dynamic web-based lookup table for Directive 7120.1, “Safe and Suitable Ingredients Used in the Production of Meat, Poultry and Egg Products.”  The table provides IPP and industry with an up-to-date list of substances that may be used in the production of meat, poultry and egg products and allows users to search ingredients by name.

 

USDA Integrates Recalls Information into ‘FoodKeeper’ Application. USDA updated its FoodKeeper application with new information on food safety recalls that will allow users to receive automatic notifications when food safety recalls are announced by the Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Food and Drug Administration. The updated app, which is available for download on Google Play and iTunes stores, enables users to receive food safety recall information immediately, daily or weekly. The update also includes instructional videos regarding proper food handling and storage practices, and expands the list of food and beverage products from approximately 400 to more than 500 items.

    

FSIS Posts Revised Compliance for Label Approval. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) posted an update to the November 2015, “Compliance Guideline for Label Approval,” which details the types of labels and labeling that are required to be submitted to FSIS for approval, including specific examples of certain special statements and claims that are not generically approved. FSIS updated the guideline to include new examples of special statements and claims that must be submitted for approval; factual statements and claims that are generically approved; changes that can be made generically to labels previously approved with special statements and claims; and changes that cannot be made generically to labels previously approved with special statements and claims. The updated guideline also provides new information regarding the process to submit a label application for blanket approval. FSIS invited public comments on the revised guideline over the next 60 days.

 

FDA Releases Sixth Chapter of Draft Guidance for Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the sixth chapter in the agency’s “Draft Guidance for Industry: Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food,” which is designed to help food facilities comply with the preventive controls for human food final rule, mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act. The chapter explains how food facilities can establish and implement a heat treatment, such as baking or cooking, to prevent contamination by disease-causing bacteria. FDA intends to publish at least 14 chapters to help food facilities comply with specific requirements of the final rule. Small businesses – those with fewer than 500 full-time employees – are required to comply with the preventive controls rule by September 18, 2017.

 

USDA Reopens Nominations for National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria in Foods. USDA reopened the period to receive nominations for membership on the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF). Nominations are due by September 27. USDA announced that there are 17 vacancies on the 30-member panel. Advisory Committee members serve a two-year term, renewable for two consecutive terms. USDA seeks 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. Nominations made during the initial period, which closed January 6, 2017, do not need to be resubmitted. More information regarding eligibility and the application process is available here.


SCIENTIFIC AFFAIRS

New Study Finds Fat Intake Lowers Mortality Risk, Does Not Increase Heart Disease Risk. Diets rich in fats, including saturated fats, are associated with a lower risk of total mortality, whereas higher carbohydrate intake is associated with an increased risk of total mortality, according to new research published in The Lancet. The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study, which examined food intake using questionnaires from more than 135,000 people in 18 countries, found that total fat and unsaturated and saturated fats were not associated with cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction or cardiovascular mortality. Higher saturated fat consumption, researchers found, was associated with lower risk of stroke. Increased carbohydrate intake, although associated with a higher risk of total mortality, did not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease or cardiovascular disease mortality.

The researchers, therefore, concluded that their findings do not support the current recommendation to limit total fat intake to less than 30 percent of energy and saturated fat intake to less than 10 percent of energy, stating that limiting total fat consumption is unlikely to improve health in populations. Instead, the researchers suggested, individuals with high carbohydrate intake – above 60 percent of energy – may benefit from a reduction in carbohydrate intake and an increase in the consumption of fats.

 

MEETINGS AND EVENTS      

Full Agenda Available for Animal Handling Conference, Livestock Transportation Pre-Conference Workshop. The Meat Institute, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, released the full draft agenda for its annual Animal Care and Handling Conference for the Food Industry October 19-20, 2017, in Kansas City, Missouri. The workshop is the leading animal welfare educational opportunity for meat companies, their customers and those involved in the production and management of livestock and meat products. The conference is designed to help companies improve animal handling and regulatory compliance, and will offer an overview of the most current humane handling and stunning practices. Conference breakout sessions will address beef, pork, poultry and management issues. A pre-conference workshop will be held Wednesday, October 18, 2017, for an additional fee.

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, Consejo Mexicano de la Carne, Food Marketing Institute, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Dairy FARM Program, National Grocers Association, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization, Inc., Southeastern Meat Association, Southwest Meat Association and USPoultry.

To register to attend the conference, click here.

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