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The Weekly Grind – April 4, 2014

April 4, 2014

NAMA NEWS

CODEX SUSPENDS WORK ON DON MLs

In an unexpected, but positive outcome for the North American grain and processing industry, the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Food (CCCF) suspended work on the three Maximum Level Standards (MLs) they were considering on “raw” grain, semi-processed products and infant foods made from cereal grains.  The raw grain and infant formula MLs would have been restrictive to trade and could have interfered with processors ability to source grains.

The US and Canadian Governments coordinated their approach with the private sector food industry representatives who made interventions to support the Government positions.  Paul Green represented NAMA on the US Delegation and was asked to make an intervention during the debate.  Dick White from the US-based Grocery Manufacturers Association and Brent Kobielush of General Mills both represented the International Council of Grocery Manufacturers Associations, which is recognized as a Codex NGO.  The coordinated strategy resulted in a blocking of the consensus on advancing the standards. The proposal is now ‘parked’ at Step 7, which is the level immediately prior to recommendation as a final standard.  It will not move until there is an indication that consensus can be reached on the levels to be set.  Practically, this cannot be done within the next year and will probably take 2 or more years before it is reconsidered.

While the regulators present at the CCCF meeting will not end their quest to have specifications for DON in the future, the blocking of the advancement buys time to implement strategies and find workable solutions for the entire global grain sector. 

NAMA COMMENTS ON ANIMAL FOOD RULE

The North American Millers’ Association and the National Pasta Association (NPA) submitted joint comments to the US Food and Drug Administration in response to the agency’s proposed rule on Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals.  NAMA worked with NPA and other human food stakeholders as well as animal food organizations to align messaging to present to FDA.  The Agency denied an extension of the comment period but has said the rule will be reopened this summer.

The comments can be found on NAMA’s website at http://www.namamillers.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/NPA-and-NAMA-Animal-Food-Preventive-Controls-Comments1.pdf.

MCCARTHY MEETS WITH BNSF

NAMA president and CEO, Jim McCarthy, attended a meeting of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition this week. The coalition met with John Miller, General VP of BNSF to discuss the rail problems many industries are having. McCarthy expressed concerns that the milling industry has had this year and urged BNSF to work with the coalition to improve the grain industry’s rail service. Miller pointed out a number of efforts underway at BNSF to help our industry and he vowed to continue to work with the coalition.

NAMA MEMBERS TO PARTICIPATE IN LEADERSHIP MEETING NEXT WEEK

Members of NAMA’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee will be in town next week, April 9-10, for the 2014 Leadership Meeting.  The meeting will kick-off on Wednesday with a luncheon and speaker and, with various Capitol Hill and federal agency visits to follow.  After the day’s activities, a rooftop reception will be held for NAMA members and fellow Washington guests.   A meeting of NAMA’s Executive Committee will take place the following day.

REGISTRATION STILL OPEN FOR 55TH ANNUAL CORN DRY MILLING CONFERENCE 

Registration is open for the 55th Annual Corn Dry Milling Conference, May 14-15, 2014.  Jointly sponsored by USDA’s National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in Peoria, Illinois and NAMA, the conference has become a unique event with the objective of sharing information about the corn dry milling industry, including the latest advances in milling, product testing technologies and the science of corn production technology.  Corn millers and seed producers, people involved in food corn product manufacturing or sales, and agricultural engineers dealing in the production, handling, storage, and processing of corn products for food are encouraged to attend.

For more information on the conference and to register, please visit http://www.namamillers.org/meetings/corn-dry-milling-conference/.


INDUSTRY NEWS

FORMER MILLERS NATIONAL FEDERATION CHAIRMAN PASSES AWAY

Gerald M. Mitchell, Sr., of Naples, Florida and formerly Wayzata, Minnesota passed away March 21, 2014.  Mitchell was a prominent figure in the milling industry; beginning his career with Cargill in 1952 where he remained until the day he retired, 43 years later.  With Cargill, Mitchell served in a variety of management and operations positions.  In 1972, he became Vice President of the Milling Division and in 1984 he was named Director of Cargill.  Millers National Federation, which became NAMA in 1998, was fortunate enough to have Mitchell serve as Second Vice Chairman from 1982 to 1984 and Chairman from 1986 to 1987.  NAMA would like to offer its sincere condolences to Mitchell’s family.

You can find Gerald M. Mitchell, Sr.’s full obituary in the Star Tribune at http://www.startribune.com/obituaries/detail/14046584/?fullname=gerald-m-mitchell,-sr.

POMPEO REPORTEDLY TO PUSH VOLUNTARY GMO LABELING BILL
The Hill

Rep. Mike Pompeo is poised to introduce business-backed legislation establishing a voluntary labeling system for food with genetically modified organisms (GMO), according to an industry source with knowledge of the plan.  A spokesman for the Kansas Republican declined to comment on the lawmaker’s intentions, saying only that he is engaged with issues related to agriculture and interstate commerce.  Pompeo sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s subpanel on Manufacturing, Commerce and Trade.

For more on this article, visit The Hill at http://thehill.com/blogs/regwatch/business/202340-pompeo-to-push-voluntary-gmo-labeling-bill.

U.S. WHEAT STOCKS DOWN 15%, CORN UP 30%
World Grain News

Wheat stored in all positions on March 1 totaled 1,055,531,000 bushels, down 15% from 1,234,830,000 bushels on March 1, 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in its March 31 Grain Stocks report.  On-farm stocks of wheat were 237,530,000 bushels, up slightly from 236,970,000 bushels a year ago, while off-farm stocks were 818,001,000 bushels, down 18% from 997,860,000 bushels last year. Indicated disappearance of wheat during the December 2013-February 2014 period was 419 million bushels, down 4% from the same period a year earlier, the USDA said.

For more on this article, visit World Grain News at http://www.world-grain.com/articles/news_home/World_Grain_News/2014/04/US_wheat_stocks_down_15_corn_u.aspx?ID={D965DFF6-C922-491E-9652-2F8CC9058922}.

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