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Technical Committee Meeting Minutes – March 10, 2012

Naples, Florida


Waldorf Astoria Naples
Acacia 1-3
Saturday March 10, 2012
7:30-11:30 AM
Members Present
R. Don Sullins, Chairman, ADM Milling Company
Brian Anderson, Bunge Milling, Inc.
Steven Arndt, Midstate Mills, Inc.
Keith Ballard, PepsiCo/Quaker Oats
William Bonner, Viterra, Inc.
Michael Fassezke, Star of the West Milling Co.
Scott Frazer, Viterra, Inc.
Ellen Gay, Horizon Milling LLC/Cargill
Roderick Geiger, Bartlett Milling Company
Craig Hagood, House-Autry Mills, Inc.
David Katzke, General Mills, Inc.
David Kendra, PepsiCo/Quaker Oats
Michael Loverde, Wilkins Rogers Mills
Donald Mennel, The Mennel Milling Company
Joseph Mitchell, Bartlett Milling Company
Richard Siemer, Siemer Milling Company
Keith Smith, Cargill Corn Milling
Robert Sombke, North Dakota Mill & Elevator
Nick Weigel, ADM Milling Company

Others Present
Fran Churchill, Kansas State University
Joseph Shebuski, Cargill, Inc.

NAMA Staff
Jim Bair, Staff Liaison, Vice President
Sherri Lehman, Director of Government Affairs
Robert Myers, Jr., NAMA Counsel
Lyndsey Valentine, Administrative Assistant
Mary Waters, President

1. Call to Order – Committee Chairman Don Sullins, ADM Milling Company
a. Introductions – Don Sullins, ADM Milling Company
Dr. Sullins, Chairman of the Technical Committee, called the meeting to order at 7:30a.m. Self-introductions were made.
b. Review of Antitrust Guidelines – Skip Myers, Morris, Manning & Martin
NAMA Counsel, Mr. Myers, reviewed the antitrust guidelines.
2. Administrative
a. Approval of Minutes – Jim Bair, NAMA
The minutes were distributed to members prior to the Technical Committee meeting. Dr. Sullins moved to approve the minutes, and they were approved unanimously.
3. Items for Discussion
a. Report from Kansas State University – Fran Churchill, NAMA Instructor of Milling
Ms. Churchill stated that she is excited to be back at KSU and feels that it is a unique opportunity for her to use the experiences she has attained from the milling industry. She provided the members with a brief description of her background. Ms. Churchill stated that in her Milling Science I class she has 21 students and that there are 10-20 graduates each year from the milling program.
b. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) – Sherri Lehman, NAMA
Ms. Lehman reviewed the briefing material in the members’ packets. Most of the regulations have not yet been promulgated. She reminded members that food manufacturers must register their facilities between October 1 and December 31 of this year. NAMA will be sending out guidance information at a later date. Ms. Lehman also stated the President’s budget included user fees, including a fee for this registration. Interim final rules on feed and safety standards have been delayed and will be out by summer at the earliest. Ms. Lehman stated that the FDA issued a rule on record keeping to align the bio-terrorism act with FSMA.
c. Mycotoxins

  • 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 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.

  • US/Canada harmonization – Jim Bair, NAMA
    Mr. Bair said 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, 7 ppb in wheat bran, 3 ppm in flour and breakfast cereals and 0.5 ppb in infant foods.

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

d. Biotechnology

  • Enogen amylase corn – Don Sullins, ADM Milling Company
    Mr. Giguere and Dr. Sullins are members of the Enogen advisory council and they provided a report on information provided at the last council meeting.  Syngenta projected 70,000 acres will be planted. In response to a question on efficacy, Dr. Sullins says it is very effective.

    As a follow up to the 2011 effort to collect information from corn millers on the geography of their corn origination draw area, Mr. Bair stated that the responses were sent to NAMA counsel who removed any evidence of the submitter. The blinded data were sent to Mr. Bair, but NAMA has no plans to release the data.

    Several members of the committee stated a desire to know the specific production locations. Staff will get the information and send to the committee.

    Mr. Bair stated that there was an ELISA test available for detecting Enogen. It has a limit of detection (LOD) of 1.0%, however the USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packards and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) validation for the test expired in December 2011. The test developer has resubmitted it for validation. Committee members asked the staff to find out if the ELISA test was specific to the Enogen alpha amylase or if it detects its naturally occurring enzyme counterpart.

    Syngenta has continued to insist on a confidentiality agreement before releasing Enogen for testing.  This agreement would preclude sharing results with customers, colleagues, and the government.

    The committee members agree that:

    1. The ELISA test’s LOD was insufficiently sensitive.
    2. Since we have not been able to test samples of the corn, we are insufficiently knowledgeable of its possible negative effects on food processes and products.
    3. Testing inbound corn for Enogen would, in essence, make the miller a partner in the stewardship program and potentially liable for damages that may result from the presence of the trait in the food supply.

      Therefore, we should no longer seek samples for testing and will inform the trait developer we will accept their commitment to keep the trait out of the food supply.

  • Output traits – meeting with USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Deputy Under Secretary Blue – Jim Bair, NAMA
    Mr. Bair said NAMA and a coalition of grain handling, processing and food manufacturing associations met in Washington with Deputy Under Secretary Rebecca Blue. They briefed her on the impact of biotech output traits with unique functional characteristics on the grain processing industry. The meeting was intended to help her understand the impact of USDA’s approval policies and procedures on the grain processing industry.
  • Biotech wheat – Jim Bair, NAMA
    Mr. Bair reported that NAMA has had frequent meetings with the wheat growers (NAWG) and bakers (ABA) on this topic and that we want to make sure that milling and baking quality is a top criteria in any eventual commercialization of biotech wheat. NAMA wants private wheat breeding companies to submit their experimental lines to the Wheat Quality Council for analysis.

    Members expressed concern that the Wheat Industry Biotech Committee (WIBC) does not yet have a governing structure but has been placed under the control of the newly reformulated National Wheat Foundation (NWF). NAMA does not have a representative on the NWF.

  • IFIC (International Food Information Council) food technology/biotechnology survey – Jim Bair, NAMA
    Mr. Bair said that the survey is an annual, national survey that includes questions on the range of consumer attitudes toward food and technology, including biotech products. He said in previous years the responses that have been received have been surprising and in many ways positive. Popular issues such as local food and organic rank surprisingly low as ‘top of mind’ issues for consumers, whereas issues such as feeding a growing population ranks very high.
e. Environmental swabbing for microbiological contamination – Jim Bair, NAMA
Mr. Bair led a comprehensive discussion about the advisability of environmental swabbing programs and customer requests for information on microbial contamination.   NAMA sponsored a paper in 2007 authored by Dr. William Sperber to provide a baseline report on the level of microbial contamination in flour products. Members discussed how various testing locations can impact the results of environmental swabbing and the different results between a wet and dry processing environment. Members discussed whether more can be done on this issue. The committee may discuss customer requests for assurances on microbial contamination further at the fall meeting and provide recommendations to the Food Safety Committee.
f. Fumigants

  • Methyl bromide CUE – Jim Bair, NAMA
    Mr. Bair said it is the official position of the US government that NAMA members should have access to methyl bromide through 2014. The level approved should be enough to conduct about 35 fumigations.
  • Proposed revocation of tolerances for residues of sulfuryl fluoride on food – Jim Bair, NAMA
    Mr. Bair stated it has always been the position of the UN Environment Program and the US government that millers should transition from methyl bromide to sulfuryl fluoride (SF). Nonetheless EPA has proposed to revoke the residue tolerances and cancel associated uses of the fumigant. An attorney from the office of the EPA general counsel believes the agency has no choice but to finalize the revocation as proposed. The only potential tinkering could be to delay timing. Mr. Bair and others interested in saving the fumigant have had multiple meetings with the Obama Administration including two meetings at the White House to discuss the issue. Nonetheless, the probability of saving sulfuryl fluoride is probably less than 50%. It appears doing so would require federal legislation to specifically direct EPA to not ban SF.
  • Joint NAMA/IAOM sanitation manual – Jim Bair, NAMA
    Mr. Bair described a joint educational effort with the IAOM Food Protection Committee (FPC) to create an electronic document that would help millers make the transition to sanitation programs without fumigants. The manual would be made available for free to all NAMA members. FPC members are in the process of identifying chapters and industry experts to author them. The goal is to have it completed within one year.
g. Research

  • Wheat – NC-FAR, scab initiative – Sherri Lehman
    Ms. Lehman reported the Administration’s funding request for USDA’s Research, Education and Economics Mission area included a proposed increase of $68 million; with $25 million of that dedicated to work on climate change and drought resistance.
  • Oats – NA CORE research – Sherri Lehman
    Ms. Lehman said that Eric Jackson (now with General Mills) is presenting a new NA-CORE proposal at the Oat Division meeting. The initial work has been accomplished.
h. Nutrition

  • 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.
  • Definition of gluten free – Sherri Lehman, NAMA
    Ms. Lehman reviewed FDA’s efforts to define gluten free. They re-opened the comment period on gluten free labeling and they may have something out by November.
  • 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.
  • Vitamin D – Mary Waters, NAMA
    Ms. Waters reported on her presentation at the ABA Food Technology and Regulatory Affairs Committee (FTRAC) on NAMA’s efforts to allow labeling claims for Vitamin D in flour.
4. Other Business
Members discussed mill audits.

Ms. Waters passed around an informational memo regarding NAMA’s KSU Public Policy Internship program for this summer.

5. Adjournment
Mr. Bonner made the motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Shouse seconded the motion.  The meeting was adjourned at 10:58a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Jim Bair
Staff Liaison

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