The Beef Checkoff funded veal program partnered with the Pennsylvania State Beef Council at the 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show. Delicious meatballs were featured at the “Meatball Showdown” at the PA Preferred Culinary Connection Stage. Checkoff branded veal cutting mats were distributed to all that stopped by. Consumer attitudes towards veal were captured through surveys conducted during the show.
VEAL QUALITY ASSURANCE
Updated VQA Program Resources Receive USDA Approval
The updated Veal Quality Assurance program and resources, which were reviewed and revised by a 14-member technical advisory group, have been approved by USDA. The content will now be used to update the manual and the training PPT. Veterinarians and other industry representatives who conduct VQA training will be invited to participate in a webinar after the first of the year. Updated content will be added to the Veal Farm website. All managers and owners of farms raising milk-fed veal are encouraged to be certified every two years. Currently, 90% of all milk-fed veal comes from VQA certified farms. The goal is to increase that to 95% with the new program content coming in early 2018.
IN THE NEWS
AVA Confirms “Mission Accomplished”
Veal farmers knew a decade ago there was a better way to raise and care for milk-fed veal calves. The American Veal Association (AVA) established a goal in 2007 to move completely to group housing over a ten-year period. Since then, AVA members dedicated themselves to researching the best facilities to provide optimal care and the financial resources to make it happen by the end of 2017.
“As we start the new year here in 2018, I am pleased to confirm that all AVA-member companies and individuals involved in veal production have successfully transitioned to group housing and no tethers,” acknowledged Dale Bakke, AVA president. “Industry members have invested more than $50 million in building new facilities and renovations to achieve this milestone. Those members include Marcho Farms, Catelli Brothers, Strauss Brand Veal, Midwest Veal, Strauss Veal Feeds, and Provimi Foods.”
A link to the news release can be found here: http://www.americanveal.com/group-housing/
NACMCF Develops Recommendations to Help DoD Assess Process Control and Sanitary Conditions. The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) provided to the Department of Defense (DoD) microbiological limits for food categories to help the department assess process control and sanitary conditions in suppliers without evidence of a documented and functioning food safety plan. The limits, which do not establish microbiological criteria, also are intended to provide guidance to DoD auditors when assisting suppliers with corrective and preventive actions when there is evidence of insanitary conditions and lack of process control.
NACMCF recommends DoD purchase meat and poultry from countries with USDA-equivalent inspection programs and from manufacturing establishments that meet the requirements of the inspection system. When doing so is not possible, NACMCF urges the manufacturing facility meet the requirements specified by USDA for production of meat and poultry, and suggests the product specification for fresh (unfrozen) raw meat and poultry include a maximum time between slaughter and receipt by DOD.
FSIS Announces Key Milestones Reached in 2017. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) published a review of key 2017 achievements in preventing foodborne illness, modernizing operations and inspection systems and improving oversight and re-inspection of products entering the U.S., among other areas. In 2017, FSIS inspected more than 155 million head of livestock and 9.45 billion poultry carcasses, according to the report. FSIS inspectors also conducted 6.9 million food safety and food defense procedures across 6,500 regulated establishments. FSIS also detailed progress in its Salmonella and Campylobacter sampling programs, outreach and education efforts and whole genome sequencing initiatives.
FSIS Posts Updated Residue Sampling Plans for 2018. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) published the National Residue Program for Meat, Poultry and Egg Products – 2018 Residue Sampling Plans, commonly referred to as the Blue Book, which summarizes the process used by FSIS to sample meat, poultry and egg products for chemical contaminants of public health concern. The publication describes the 2018 National Residue Program (NRP) using the three-tier sampling system initiated in 2012 that identifies the various production classes and compounds FSIS is analyzing, provides access to current methodology and explains the fiscal year reporting cycle.
The NRP is designed to provide a structured process for identifying and evaluating chemical compounds used in food animals; to analyze chemical compounds of concern; to collect, examine and report results; and to determine the need for regulatory follow-up when violative levels of chemical residues are present.
Lamb and Veal Approved for Export to El Salvador. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) approved the export of U.S. lamb and veal products to El Salvador. The decision, announced in December, along with export requirements for El Salvador are available in the updated Export Library.
2017 U.S. Beef Import TRQ Filled. The 2017 Other Country Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) for beef imports to the U.S. was filled December 18. The quota provides preferential-duty access for countries that are eligible to ship beef to the U.S., but do not have established country-specific TRQs. As a result, remaining beef product for Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Honduras entered under the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) TRQs. As of December 25, beef imports totaled 624,728.17 kilograms (kgs) from Nicaragua and 36,741 kgs from Honduras, well below the volumes available under the CAFTA TRQs. As of January 1, 2018, product is once again entering under the Other Country TRQ.
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