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NAMA News – June 21, 2013

June 21, 2013

Inside this Issue

 • NAMA Adopts Updated Statement on Biotechnology

 • NAMA Discusses GM Wheat with Embassy of Japan

 • 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Kicks off First Meeting

 • Administration’s Cash Proposal for Food Aid Fails in Both House and Senate

 • U.S. House Fails to Pass Farm Bill


NAMA Adopts Updated Statement on Biotechnology

NAMA first adopted a position on biotechnology in 2002, and that position has served the association well. However, the biotech world has changed dramatically since then, and at last October’s Annual Meeting the NAMA Executive Committee recommended the statement be updated.

The updated statement has been reviewed and approved by NAMA’s Biotechnology Committee and Executive Committee, and is available on the NAMA website here: http://www.namamillers.org/issues/biotechnology/nama-statement-on-biotechnology/.

The statement includes new paragraphs addressing important topics such as trait stewardship, risk assessment, liability and traits that affect end-use functionality.

For additional information contact NAMA Vice President Jim Bair at jbair@namamillers.or

g, or 202.484.2200, ext. 14.


NAMA Discusses GM Wheat with Embassy of Japan

NAMA vice president Jim Bair and export consultant Paul Green were invited guests of the Embassy of Japan at a reception for Washington food and agriculture representatives. The June 11 event provided an opportunity to discuss issues of mutual interest including recent developments in biotech wheat.

*Jim Bair, NAMA Vice President, pictured with Naritoshi Takayama, Counselor, Embassy of Japan, at a reception being held by the embassy.

 


2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Kicks off First Meeting

The first meeting of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) convened on June 13 in Bethesda Maryland. Four additional public meetings will take place over the next two years. The first edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans was released in 1980. Congress mandated that they be reviewed, updated and published every five years jointly by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA and HHS appoint a Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee consisting of nationally recognized experts in the field of health and nutrition to carry out the charge of reviewing the latest scientific and medical knowledge. The DGAC then prepares a report for the HHS and USDA secretaries who then provide recommendations for the next edition of the dietary guidelines based on their review of the current literature. The meeting, held over two days, introduced the members of the committee, reviewed their charge, and discussed a vast universe of topics to be looked at including GMOs, sustainability and added sugars.


Administration’s Cash Proposal For Food Aid Fails in Both House and Senate

On June 19, in a vote of 203-220, the House rejected the Royce-Engel amendment to implement the Obama Administration’s proposal to shift up to 45% of the U.S.’s main food aid program to cash or Local and Regional Purchase (LRP) food distributions. NAMA worked with other commodity and food industry trade associations to actively oppose the Royce-Engel Amendment and continue to use the Title II Food For Peace program to procure high quality U.S. food for the world’s neediest consumers. In the end, it was a close vote, with both the Democratic and Republican caucuses split. To view the letter that was sent to the House of Representatives go to: http://www.namamillers.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/House-email-blast1.pdf

The Administration has been lobbying Congress and gearing up op-eds in influential papers for the last several weeks in an attempt to get the farm bill to include their original provisions to end the Food for Peace Program and give the Administration flexibility to use the budget for food, cash distributions or LRP. When they failed to get that provision in either the House or Senate Agriculture Committees, they turned to Representative Royce (R-CA), the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who altered the proposal to keep Food For Peace intact, but authorized use of its funds for ‘food assistance’ for up to 45% of the budget as a House floor amendment. The Royce-Engel amendment would also have limited monetization to a maximum of 15% of the budget. NAMA staff wrote the attached letter that was emailed yesterday afternoon to the entire House of Representatives. It is uncertain what actions, if any, the Administration will take to try to get the flexibility they seek for the food aid budget. To view the food aid letter that was sent to the House of Representatives, go to:
http://www.namamillers.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Food-aid-Letter_to_House_Agriculture_Committee1.pdf


U.S. House Fails to Pass Farm Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass a sweeping five-year farm bill by a vote of 195-234. The Republican-led House soundly rejected the $500 billion measure, failing to gain enough support from conservative Republicans concerned about costs and Democrats concerned about deep cuts in the food stamp program. Congress failed to pass a farm bill last year after House leadership declined to call a vote because it was clear that the 218 votes needed was unattainable. It is unclear how the House will proceed at this point.

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