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Oat Division Minutes – October 7, 2011



Oat Division Member Meeting

The Broadmoor
Colorado Springs, CO
October 7, 2011
3:30 PM
Oat Milling Members Present
Karl Gerrand, Viterra, Inc
Dan Ward, La Crosse Milling Co.
Mark Ramsland, General Mills, Inc.
Rick Schwein, Grain Millers, Inc.
John Wiebold, General Mills, Inc.
Bruce Roskens, PepsiCo/ Quaker Oats
Staff Present
Mary Waters, President
James Bair, Vice President
Sherri Lehman, Director of Government Relations
Joseph Holahan, Legal Counsel, Morris, Manning, Martin, LLP
Others Present:
Gordon Harrison, Canadian National Millers’ Association
1. Call to Order – Oat Division Chairman, Mark Ramsland, General Mills, Inc.

a. Introductions – Mark Ramsland, General Mills, Inc.

b. Antitrust Guidelines
Ms. Waters reviewed the antitrust guidelines with the members.
2. Administration

a. Approval of Minutes
The minutes from the March meeting were previewed by the members prior to this meeting. Mr. Schwein made a motion to approve the minutes, which were seconded by Mr. Gerrand. The motion passed unanimously.
b. Report on Division Reserve Fund & Budget – Mary Waters, NAMA
Ms. Waters reported that the Oat Division Reserve Fund holds $21,229.83.
3. Items for Discussion

a. Research- NA-CORE  – Sherri Lehman, NAMA
Ms. Lehman reported that, according to ARS scientist and project leader Eric Jackson, the research is beating the expected timelines. The project’s 2nd year was been completed was completed ahead of schedule. Mr. Roskens added that the molecular marking has identified several beta glucan markers that may be of importance.

Mr. Jackson has asked for feedback from oat millers on their prioritized list of six most desired traits, e.g. beta glucan levels, protein, farm yield, etc. This information will help identify objectives for the oat breeders. Those present agreed to compile their own list of most desired traits and provide that to Ms. Lehman, who will aggregate the lists and forward to Eric Jackson.

Mr. Schwein asked for a one page briefing paper that describes the oat research project and the success that has exceeded expectations so far.  NAMA staff will follow up on this request.

Mr. Roskens discussed receiving media inquiries on the possible impact on Canadian oat plantings should the Canadian Wheat Board lose its monopoly status as is planned by the current government administration.

b. Oat Sustainability Statement – Jim Bair, NAMA
Mr. Bair reviewed the statement on oat sustainability for use by oat milling members. The statement had been circulated to the oat division members in August.  The statement was unanimously approved. It was suggested that the statement include a definition of sustainability since there are many and widely varying descriptions. We see merit in the United Nations’ definition, adopted as early as 1987, that defined sustainability simply as “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”
c. FDA Reopening of Gluten-Free Labeling Comment Period – Sherri Lehman, NAMA
Ms. Lehman discussed the original 2007 proposed rule on gluten-free labeling. Scientific evidence has been gathered centered on a 20ppm threshold. FDA held a new open period for commenting on the issue. NAMA did not comment again on the original proposal.
d. NAMA “Prohibited Grain” Comment – Sherri Lehman, NAMA
NAMA submitted comments objecting to a subsequent FDA proposal to define so-called “prohibited grains.” NAMA stated it is preferable to refer to them as “gluten containing grains.”
e. Mycotoxin Regulation in Canada – Rick Schwein, Grain Millers, Inc.
Mr. Schwein introduced guest Gordon Harrison, president of the Canadian National Millers Association.
Mr. Harrison provided a comprehensive re-cap of the situation in Canada:

  • Health Canada’s (HC) position on desired maximum limits on OTA remain unchanged.
  • HC believes there remains insufficient data on DON levels from developing countries.
  • HC wants maximum limits and supply chain changes to address mycotoxins.  This includes changes in production practices such as abandoning minimum till and no till practices in favor of a return to plowing of fields. The millers present agreed that this desire is very unlikely to be achieved due to the very positive impact low/no tillage practices have had, particularly on environmentally sensitive land.
  • An industry coalition including the Canadian Grains Commission and grain grower groups is jointly supporting substantial research on the topic including storage studies and genetic mapping of mycotoxins.
  • HC is using CFIA to collect on-farm oat samples to conduct a three-year study of on-farm storage practices. Early results show a high number of OTA positive samples in the 3-5ppb range.
  • The oat/OTA samples have been provided to Tom Whittaker who will generate Operating Characteristic (OC) curves to inform discussions about sampling and testing outcomes.
  • HC may be re-thinking the need for maximum mycotoxin limits on raw grain (as is the case with DON guidelines in the U.S. where no limit has been set on raw grain).
  • Canadian National Millers Association, Canadian Bakers Association and others are lobbying their government to amend Sec. 4 of the Canadian Foods Act to be more like the U.S.’ Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
  • Mr. Harrison described the possibility of an oat/OTA processing study. He believes the current system produces both sampling error and analytical errors that compound and produce results that are meaningless in the context of health considerations. He will seek a proposal for the work from the University of Guelph and provide it to NAMA.

Mr. Bair described conversations he has had with representatives of the government of Canada where he urged them to consider that it would be in Canada’s economic interest to harmonize mycotoxin standards with its largest trading partner – the U.S. – rather than attempting to harmonize with unrealistic E.U. standards.

4. Other Business

      Mr. Roskens stated that the annual meeting of the Prairie Oat Growers Association would be held December 1 in Winnipeg, MB.
      Mr. Roskens reminded the group that research being done by Dr. Fred Kolb at the University of Illinois on barley yellow dwarf virus research is slated to lose federal funding. It is important work that assists the oat research programs throughout North America. Bruce offered to discuss with Kolb the possibility of continuing the research with some NAMA oat division funding, and the group agreed.
5. Adjournment

Respectfully submitted,

James Bair
NAMA Vice President

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