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Oat Division Minutes – March 11, 2012


Waldorf Astoria Naples
Sunday, March 11, 2012
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Members Present
Mark Ramsland, Chairman, General Mills, Inc.
Keith Ballard, PepsiCo/Quaker Oats
William Bonner, Viterra, Inc.
Scott Frazer, Viterra, Inc.
Dennis Galbraith, Viterra, Inc.
Cullen Harder, Grain Millers, Inc.
Trevor Pizzey, Viterra, Inc.
Rick Schwein, Grain Millers, Inc.
Dan Ward, La Crosse Milling Company
Don Wille, General Mills, Inc. 
Others Present
Gordon Harrison, Canadian National Millers’ Association (by phone)
Eric Jackson, General Mills, Inc.
Joe Lutz, General Mills, Inc.NAMA Staff
Jim Bair, Staff Liaison, Vice President
Sherri Lehman, Director of Government Relations
Terri Long, Director of Communications
Lyndsey Valentine, Administrative Assistant
Mary Waters, PresidentSkip Myers, General Counsel, Morris, Manning & Martin LLP
1. Call to Order & Introductions – Division Chairman, Mark Ramsland, General Mills, Inc.
Mr. Ramsland called the meeting to order at 11a.m. and self-introductions were made.
2. Review of Antitrust GuidelinesSkip Myers, Morris, Manning & Martin
Ms. Waters reviewed the antitrust guidelines. 
3. Administrative 
a. Approval of Minutes – Jim Bair, NAMA
With one grammatical change, Mr. Schwein made a motion to approve the minutes.  Mr. Ballard seconded the motion.  The motion passed.
b. Report on Division Reserve Fund & Budget – Mary Waters, NAMA
Ms. Waters stated there is $21,229.83 in the Oat Division Reserve Fund.
3. Items for Discussion 
a. Summary of Technical Committee Meeting – Bill Bonner, Viterra
Mr. Bonner recapped the outcomes of the previous day’s Technical Committee meeting including a discussion of mycotoxin regulations in Canada, the Codex effort to set maximum levels for DON in grains and products; and Enogen amylase corn and its expanded growing areas for 2012. Syngenta’s insistence on executing a confidentiality agreement has prevented NAMA and member companies from attaining samples. There was a comprehensive discussion about the advisability of environmental swabbing programs. Other discussion included an update on fumigant regulations, the definition of whole grains, and a presentation by Fran Churchill, the new NAMA instructor of milling at K-State.
b. Mycotoxins
1.  Regulation in Canada – Gordon Harrison (via phone), Canadian National Millers Association
Mr. Harrison gave an overview on the proposed adoption of maximum limits for ochratoxin A (OTA) and the market study underway. The study is projected for completion in March 2014. He said the levels in eastern Canada wheat are very low and only a handful were analyzed at greater than 1ppb. Mr. Harrison said 175 samples of oats were delivered in Winnipeg. Many of the samples are positive ranging between 1-3ppb, however several have been higher. There has been poor agreement between the ELISA and liquid chromatography methods.Mr. Frazer asked if it is possible that we are looking at specifications lower than the analytical limit. Mr. Harrison said he thinks that very possible. To address statistical performance of the testing, the samples are quite large – 36-40kg split into 16 subsamples of 2kg each. It is still unclear what effect if any the removal of oat hulls would have on the test results, even though it is thought to be large.

Mr. Harrison said he’s been lobbying for a new Food, Drugs, Cosmetic and Devices Act to align with the U.S. Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. In response to a question, Europeans believe there is no issue, but based on the numbers, it doesn’t seem all that different to North America. He said there is no compelling evidence that the producers are doing a better job than Canadian/US growers. Mr. Frazer said it appears that the most important data that might come from this effort is getting a better understanding of the limit of quantification in the test method. Mr. Harrison thanked the members of NAMA and GMA for helping gather processors and supporting this project financially. Mr. Schwein commended Mr. Harrison for all of his efforts.

Mr. Bair says Canada has a desire to have standards like Codex. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency in recent years has taken samples and forced recalls on mycotoxins, even though there are no stated maximum levels with the exception of DON in eastern soft wheat. On Ochratoxin (OTA), NAMA jointly funded a scientific literature search by Cantox, a scientific consulting firm. The February 2012 Cantox report concluded there is no evidence from human data that OTA exposures are associated with adverse health effects. Nonetheless, Canada is moving toward adopting the OTA limits it proposed at 5ppb in raw grain, 7ppb in wheat bran, 3ppm in flour and breakfast cereals and 0.5ppb in infant foods.

Mr. Kendra strongly recommended NAMA participate in Mycored, a global mycotoxin conference to be held in Ottawa in June 2012.

2.  Codex proposed maximum DON levels – Jim Bair, NAMA
Mr. Bair said Codex is an international organization that exists to create model standards to promote food safety and facilitate trade. Codex standards are particularly used by countries that don’t have a food safety agency. Countries can adopt these model laws voluntarily.  Codex committee deliberations can take years to create these guidelines.

The Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF) establishes or endorses permitted maximum levels (ML) and where necessary revises existing guideline levels for contaminants and naturally occurring toxicants in food and feed.

The CCCF has proposed ML for DON in cereals (wheat, corn and barley) and cereal based products that will be discussed at its upcoming meeting March 26-30 in the Netherlands. The proposed ML are 2.0 ppm in raw grain, 1.0 ppm in flour, meals, grits and flakes, and 0.5 ppm for cereal based foods for infants and young children.

In anticipation of the CCCF meeting, Mr. Bair has met twice with the FDA officials who are the official US delegates. He explained the original US guideline on DON in raw wheat was deleted to allow millers to adopt whatever means necessary to achieve the 1.0 ppm DON in flour. This might include, in years of DON occurrences, dramatically expanding the area of wheat origination or making capital investments in grain cleaning equipment. Regardless, milling industry customers enforce the FDA guidelines via commercial terms in their contracts. Thus, NAMA recommends the US adopt a position of not supporting ML on raw grain. The FDA confirmed their understanding of this position.

c. NA CORE research review – Joe Lutz, General Mills, Inc. & Eric Jackson, General Mills, Inc.
Mr. Jackson reported that they have 3,000 markers and have a chance to put together 6,000 marker chips and 22,000 genetic based markers.Mr. Jackson said he has created a “toolbox” for the research and now has to figure out a way to better use it. He thinks as a group, we need to talk about where we would like to see this go. He wanted to know how we could put together resources so everyone can utilize the “toolbox.”

Mr. Jackson said that two workshops have been held. The first workshop was for oats and had 26 people attend. The other workshop consisted of an oat group talking to the rice community about applying certain tools. Another workshop is scheduled for the oats group to speak to the barley community as well.

Mr. Jackson said we want to target genes that are simple, focus on those that we can identify as positive, and then build a marker for them. When these markers are taken to the next level of yield, we will then be able to see if it will cause a positive or negative reaction.  The genome selection forward strategy will be pushed forward.

Mr. Jackson went into budget discussions (see booklet). He discussed what he would like to see NAMA and POGA contribute. He said the total budget would come out to around one million dollars in three years. Mr. Schwein suggested a smaller group convene at a later date to discuss next steps.

d. Definition of whole grains – Sherri Lehman, NAMA
Ms. Lehman reported that the FDA proposal for a study to gather details on how consumers perceive whole grains messaging information on food packages is going through internal clearance and may be released in the summer.
e. Definition of gluten free – Sherri Lehman, NAMA
Ms. Lehman reviewed the FDA’s efforts to define gluten free. They re-opened the comment period on gluten free labeling and they may publish something by November.
f. School meals rules – Sherri Lehman, NAMA
Ms. Lehman said USDA issued their new school meal rules.  The rules highlight the importance of grains and stresses the benefits of whole grains.  She said the first two years will be half “whole grain rich,” and the third year will be strictly “whole grain rich.”  She said the USDA defines whole grain rich as 51% whole grain, and the remaining is enriched flour.  Five desserts a week from grain-based products are allowed, but only two will be counted towards the weekly grains requirement.
5. Information Items – for discussion if requested
a. Oat Sustainability Paper – Jim Bair, NAMA
Mr. Bair reminded the group of the desire it stated at the 2011 meeting to have a briefing paper written on the sustainability of oat production and oat foods. He said that paper was completed last fall and is available on the NAMA website. No further discussion was requested for this topic.
6.  Election of new Oat Division Chairman – Mark Ramsland, General Mills, Inc.
Mr. Ramsland reported that Mr. Harder has been nominated as the new Oat Division Chairman.  Mr. Pizzey seconded the motion.  The motion passed at 1:10p.m.
5. Adjournment
Respectfully submitted,

James Bair
NAMA Vice President

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