The Weekly Grind – June 27, 2014June 27, 2014
GREEN APPOINTED TO AGRICULTURAL TRADE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
On Thursday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman announced the appointment of 19 additional members to six agricultural trade advisory committees (ATAC). NAMA’s International Trade Consultant Paul Green will serve on the ATAC for Trade in Grains, Feed, Oilseeds and Planting Seeds. The ATAC’s provide technical advice to the U.S. Government to ensure U.S. agricultural trade policy objectives reflect U.S. commercial and economic interests. Green previously represented NAMA on the ATAC for more than 20 years and served as Chairman during the Uruguay Round of the WTO, when export subsidies were phased out.
For more information, visit http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2014/06/0132.xml&contentidonly=true.
MCCARTHY, BOROUGHS ATTEND CHC AWARD CEREMONY
On Tuesday, NAMA’s President and CEO Jim McCarthy and Director of Regulatory and Technical Affairs Ben Boroughs attended the 21st Annual Congressional Hunger Center’s (CHC) Award Ceremony, which NAMA is a sponsor of. This year’s ceremony honored Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Dr. Deborah Frank, Former Representative Jo Ann Emerson, Damiana Astudillo, and Shane Murphy Goldsmith for their work on ending hunger. Lead sponsors of the event included multiple NAMA members such as General Mills, Cargill, and PepsiCo. Other key sponsors included Wal-Mart, Monsanto, and Kellogg. The CHC is a non-profit, bipartisan organization dedicated to training future leaders through domestic and international fellowship programs.
NAMA SUBMITS LETTER OF SUPPORT FOR BIOTECH LABELING BILL
Last Friday, NAMA sent a letter of support to Representatives Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) for their leadership in introducing H.R.4432, The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014. The bill would affirm a single federal standard for biotech labeling and a mandatory FDA consultation process, helping to provide certainty for farmers, processors, and consumers that the American food system remains the safest and most affordable in the world. The bill would help to clarify confusion caused by a recent slate of state-level biotech labeling laws. To view the letter, visit http://www.namamillers.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/20140620-NAMA-HR4432-Support1.pdf.
MINISTER RAITT LAUNCHES REVIEW OF CANADA’S TRANSPORTATION LEGISLATION
Government of Canada, June 25, 2014
The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, today launched a statutory review of Canada’s transportation legislation a year ahead of schedule, fulfilling the government’s promise made this spring to accelerate the review. The review is being done a year earlier than required to address a range of changing conditions and challenges, including those related to the transportation of grain on the Prairies. It will also examine what improvements could be made in a number of areas, including: our strategic transportation gateways and corridors; Canada’s transportation safety and environmental regimes; the role of technological innovation in improving transportation services and infrastructure; the safe movement of goods through communities; support for the northern transportation system; federally regulated passenger rail services; the vitality of our aviation sector and air connectivity; and governance and service delivery for key federal operations, assets, and agencies.
To view the full press release, visit http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do;jsessionid=859294189fa8da6f3cb66b49939bc86d3149bdfc42e00ebf0f474e480381219d.e34Rc3iMbx8Oai0Tbx0SaxqPahj0?mthd=advSrch&crtr.page=1&crtr.dpt1D=6695&nid=861919&crtr.tp1D=1.
CHANGES LOOMING AT GENERAL MILLS
Food Business News, By Keith Nunes, June 25, 2014
Stalled earnings growth in fiscal 2014 has prompted General Mills, Inc. to initiate a strategic review of its manufacturing and distribution network in North America with the goal of improving efficiencies and to identify potential capacity reductions. “Our No.1 objective in the new fiscal year is to accelerate our top-line growth,” said Ken Powell, chairman and chief executive officer. “Our fiscal 2015 plans include a strong new product lineup, compelling news or renovation on many existing brands, and a full slate of consumer-focused marketing initiatives. In addition, supply chain cost-savings from our ongoing Holistic Margin Management program are expected to exceed $400 million in 2015. We anticipate these savings will offset input cost inflation, which we estimate at 3% for the new year.
To view the full Food Business News article, visit http://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/news_home/Financial-Performance/2014/06/Changes_looming_at_General_Mil.aspx?ID=%7B5B469F33-157E-4C03-A508-33E916E81EE5%7D.
FDA ANNOUNCES GUIDE TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES COMPLY WITH GLUTEN-FREE LABELING REQUIREMENTS
Food and Drug Administration, June 25, 2014
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a guide for small food businesses to help them comply with new federal requirements for the voluntary use of the term “gluten-free” on food products. The Small Entity Compliance Guide provides a plain-language question and answer overview of FDA’s regulatory requirements for use of the term “gluten-free” on food labels. FDA published the final rule on “gluten-free” labeling in August 2013 so that consumers, particularly those with celiac disease, can depend on the accuracy and reliability of the claim. Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disorder that can be managed effectively only by eating a gluten-free diet. Starting August 5, 2014, the compliance date of the rule, all FDA-regulated food products labeled on or after that date and bearing the gluten-free claim must comply with the rule’s requirements.
To view the full article, visit http://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/ConstituentUpdates/ucm402573.htm.
RAILROADS ORDERED TO GIVE UPDATES ON GRAIN CAR SHIPMENTS
The Des Moines Register, By Christopher Doering, June 24, 2014
The Surface Transportation Board ordered Canadian Pacific Railway and BNSF Railway to provide the agency an update on their plans to reduce the backlog of grain cars across their networks, a step welcomed by agricultural groups concerned that farmers could struggle to get their crops to market this fall. The regulatory agency said the two railroads must submit to the agency by Friday their plans to reduce the backlog. Until the situation is resolved, they also must provide weekly status reports showing the number of total outstanding grain car orders, the number of orders filled and the average number of days late for rail cars that are behind schedule in being delivered.
To view the full The Des Moines Register article, visit http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/money/agriculture/2014/06/24/bnsf-canadian-pacific-updates-grain-shipments/11299469/.
THE GLUTEN-FREE CRAZE: IS IT HEALTHY?
The Wall Street Journal, By Julie Jargon, June 22, 2014
A decade ago, few Americans had heard of gluten. Today, one survey says, almost a third are trying to avoid the element found in grain. In growing numbers, the world’s biggest food makers and restaurant chains are retooling recipes and labels to tap into the concern, creating a multibillion-dollar business out of gluten-free products. The trend caught the eye of Heather Nutsch, an oncology researcher in Omaha, Neb., who has struggled with her weight for years. In February, she decided to try a gluten-free diet after a friend said it helped her lose weight. “Gluten-free is everywhere,” she said.
To view the full The Wall Street Journal article, visit http://online.wsj.com/articles/how-we-eat-the-gluten-free-craze-is-it-healthy-1403491041.