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Technical Committee Meeting Minutes – March 12, 2011

Hilton Marco Island Resort & Spa
Marco Island, FL
March 12, 2011
Committee Members Present
Don Sullins, ADM Milling Company, Committee Chairman
Brian Anderson, Bunge Milling, Inc.
Bill Bonner, Viterra
Mike Fassezke, Star of the West Milling Company
Ellen Gay, Horizon Milling LLC/Cargill
Craig Hagood, House-Autry Mills
David Katzke, General Mills, Inc.
Melissa Martin, Midstate Mills, Inc.
Donald Mennel, The Mennel Milling Company
Ford Mennel, The Mennel Milling Company
Bruce Roskens, PepsiCo/Quaker Oats
Greg Schlafer, General Mills
John Shouse, Knappen Milling Company
Carl Schwinke, Siemer Milling Company
Keith Smith, Cargill Corn Milling
Robert Sombke, North Dakota Mill & Elevator
Nick Weigel, ADM Milling Company
Steve Wickes, Agricor, Inc.
Via Phone
Glen Weaver, ConAgra Mills
NAMA Staff
Jim Bair, NAMA, Vice President
Sherri Lehman, NAMA, Director of Government Relations
Robert Myers, NAMA, Legal Counsel
Mary Waters, NAMA, President
Jenni Weems, NAMA, Administrative Assistant
                                                                               
  1. Call to Order/Introductions – Don Sullins, ADM Milling Company
    Committee Chairman Sullins called the meeting to order at 8:00 a.m. Robert Myers, NAMA Legal Counsel, reviewed the NAMA Antitrust Guidelines. Self-introductions were made.Approval of Minutes – Jim Bair
    Minutes from the September 2010 meeting were distributed prior to the meeting and a motion was made by Mr. Hagood for their approval. Mr. Katzke seconded the motion and they were approved by a unanimous vote.
  2. Fumigants – Jim Bair
    Methyl bromide CUE, sulfuryl fluoride tolerances and next steps
    Mr. Bair gave a recap on government actions to reduce methyl bromide use and revoke the food residue tolerances and cancel associated uses for sulfuryl fluoride (a briefing paper was included in meeting materials).Mr. Bair has been working with other associations to have a coordinated response to the proposal to revoke the food tolerance for sulfuryl fluoride. He will submit a letter requesting an extension to the comment period and believes the EPA will extend the comment period beyond the current deadline of April 19.

    Mr. Bair does not think we will prevail in continuing the use of sulfuryl fluoride and that it may be banned in 18 months, and in three years methyl bromide may be completely phased out.

    In response to a question on the issue of food residues after fumigation, Mr. Bair stated that in Canada the first 10 minutes of production goes to livestock feed after fumigation. Mr. Bair has proposed to DOW Agro Sciences, the company that produces ProFume (sulfuryl fluoride), that a mini processing study be conducted with NAMA members providing the mills and DOW paying for the study and a consulting firm to conduct it. Products can be sampled at various times after fumigation so residue amounts can be determined.  This information would be helpful in working with EPA on a solution that would allow some continued use of sulfuryl fluoride in mills.

    Mr. Bair said that DOW thinks they can convince EPA that their proposal is too strict by submitting comments. NAMA will submit comments, but Mr. Bair does not think it will be enough to prevail.

    Mr. Bair asked if there was interest in a NAMA/International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) sponsored seminar/webiinar on alternative sanitation practices. While most companies are monitoring and making their own plans, it was thought this would be helpful. It would be useful to list current alternatives, with the pros and cons of each. Mr. Bair and Mr. Sullins will work with the International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) Food Protection Committee and KSU to develop a proposal to share with the committee. Mr. Smith suggested ensuring representation of corn millers since particle size makes this a different issue for corn.

    Mr. Fassezke reported that Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) toured their mill last month and they discussed fumigants.

    Mr. Sullins summarized that the committee will work on sulfuryl fluoride comments to EPA, a residue study by DOW, and a workshop for members on alternatives to be cosponsored by IAOM & KSU.

  3. Research – status of projects a. Wheat T-CAP project – Don Mennel, The Mennel Milling Company
    Mr. Don Mennel gave an update on T-CAP wheat quality lab project. A briefing paper was included in the meeting materials.  Mr. Mennel expressed support for the $25 million federal grant awarded last summer as part of a comprehensive plan to apply technical innovations to wheat and barley breeding in the U.S.

    Ms. Lehman reported on the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and NAMA efforts to support federal funding of agriculture research.

    b. Oats – NA CORE research – Bruce Roskens, PepsiCo/Quaker Oats
    Mr. Roskens gave a report on oat research led by Mr. Jackson that will be discussed in the Oat Division meeting.

    The Committee discussed the impact of private research dollars on public researchers. Most corn researchers in public institutions are gone and now work for private technology providers.

    The concerns going forward are:

    • Deciding where to go next with the markers.  This will require additional funding. The project is ahead of schedule.
    • Managing interest from private industries that want to privatize the project and sell the genes and the map.
    • Compensating for the loss of critical mass in the oat breeding industry. Wheat breeding has had a similar issue.

    Mr. Mennel noted the success of the oat project and hopes wheat will be as successful. He commended the leadership of Kay Simmons, ARS/USDA. He noted that Ug 99 continues to be a serious issue and should be mentioned every chance we get.

    The committee agreed that:

    • NAMA should continue to serve as facilitator to coordinate member efforts.
    • NAMA should continue to press USDA about research funding.
    • NAMA should continue to educate congressional committees on return on investment from research dollars.
    • NAMA members should support state research dollars.
  4. Mycotoxinsa. DON research paper – Jim Bair
    Mr. Bair distributed copies of the DON study published in December 2010 that was done to determine what effects processing would have on DON levels in food products. It was previously thought that there was a 50% reduction from raw wheat to flour. However, the study showed that DON is very stable. While a 50% reduction was demonstrated in bread and donuts, DON seemed to concentrate in pretzels and flaked cereal. The Committee discussed how this information should be managed now that it has been published.

    b. Regulatory activity in Canada – Jim Bair
    In response to Canadian activity on mycotoxin levels, Mr. Bair reported that he had recently spoken to Gordon Harrison, president, Canadian National Millers Association, and there were no new developments. They are still trying to convince the Canadian government of the value of statistically valid sampling procedures. The recent recalls used “grab” samples that have no statistical validity. Mr. Bair introduced Tom Whitaker, a global expert on sampling programs, to the Canadian National Millers Association, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada to show how to manage real world situations with valid data.

    Mr. Sullins reported that he and Mr. Anderson participated in a conference call with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) on the subject of mycotoxins in food aid program products. CRS is considering requiring finished product testing for all products. Mr. Anderson will be going to Africa with Paul Green, export consultant, NAMA, to meet with PVOs and talk about mycotoxins.

    Mr. Roskens noted that this issue has a scientific angle—what is the risk level and can we measure it? And a trade angle—are organizations trying to make their product their premium export product? Both of these should be monitored closely.

  5. Biotechnology – Jim Baira. Biotechnology papers on NAMA website – Jim Bair
    Mr. Bair noted that on public section of NAMA’s website is a statement on biotechnology, and on the members’ section is a more in depth paper on it.

    b. Preparation for planting of Enogen high amylase corn – Bruce Roskens
    USDA granted full deregulation to Enogen (Syngenta’s trade name for Event 3272, high amylase corn) without conditions. We will now work on determining what we need to know to live with it.
    Syngenta has committed to forming an advisory council.

    Mr. Roskens reported on meetings he participated in at USDA during the week of deregulation (February 11).  Marc Kesselman, General Counsel to Frito Lay participated in the meetings. They met with Ann Wright, Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs and several other staffers. She spoke about the Advisory Council to be established by Syngenta.

    On February 25 Mr. Roskens met with Dave Witherspoon of Syngenta. They went through more detailed plans on their intended release. Mr. Roskens was surprised that these plans still lacked details, for instance they do not have agreements in place with an energy company. The release will be quite small in 2011.

    Before a Syngenta dealer can handle corn they have to sign a contract and complete a training program. Syngenta has pledged to provide a list of dealers and areas where corn will be grown. They are trying to stay within 40 miles of the ethanol facility (draw area). They have enough seed for about 5,000 acres in 2011.

    Syngenta’s plan to manage pollen drift calls for 12 rows of separation and they will buy surrounding corn to avoid the effects of pollen drift. NAMA considers this distance to be inadequate.

    The expansion plan shows a line from Oakley, Kansas to Minneapolis. They do not intend for release in the Ohio Valley (Indiana, Illinois, Ohio).

    Syngenta is training dealers and growers. They are marketing the corn. They agreed to a third party audit system where farmers will be audited at time of planting, and after pollination, and after harvest—bins have to be isolated and identified. Drivers have to sign IP contracts on cleaning.

    First year fields will be grown at 100% purity levels. After that it will be less than 50%.

    Testing in the fall—they are working with a couple of companies to do strip testing at the sensitivity levels that they feel are necessary.

    Ms. Waters stated that Syngenta sent a letter on February 11 saying they will set up an Advisory Council, but we have not heard anything else. Mr. Roskens stated that NAMA needs to press who is on the council; where are they meeting; what is being discussed; and what steps can NAMA do to facilitate that the council will meet.

    The Corn Refiners Association is working under a confidentiality agreement with Syngenta on more research.

    Mr. Bair stated that the same activists, which brought suits against alfalfa and sugar beets, have stated their intentions to litigate this case. The Grocers Manufacturers Association (GMA) is still gathering information to decide if they should litigate.

    Mr. Anderson stated that we should not lose sight of getting a sample and testing it to see exactly what effect it has on functionality. He questioned whether we can we do that as a group and share the information? Could the corn division fund this?

    Mr. Sullins was concerned about Syngenta wanting to talk to individual companies and suggested NAMA members work together on functionality issues. Mr. Anderson asked for Enogen seed from a local dealer and was told he could have it (no grower contract was mentioned).

    Mr. Myers advised that it is better to have any testing performed by third party.  This provides more options in how to use the information later.

    The Committee agreed to ask that the testing suggestion be added to the Corn Division agenda. Ms. Waters stated that she had the impression that USDA is hesitating to contact NAMA in case we file a lawsuit. The NAMA board has not discussed litigation and has made no further press statements since the announcement.

    In summary, we want to pursue this as an industry and try to gain information we need on how it affects our products. We will pass this to the Corn Division to discuss funding a study.

    c. Wheat Summit – Jim Bair
    The Wheat Summit will be held on April 11 and 12, 2011 in Chicago and 20 millers have been invited.

  6. Food Safety  – Sherri Lehmana. Review of NAMA actions on food safety bill — FDA counsel conference call, Division presentation on supply chain issues—are additional workshops needed?
    Ms. Lehman gave a report on the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (a briefing paper was included in meeting materials). A presentation on this topic will be given in the general session. NAMA has joined the National Partnership for Food Safety that is an organization comprised of government agencies and food companies and associations. This organization focuses on educating consumers about safe food handling.  NAMA’s work with the partnership addressed concerns raised earlier by Ms. Gray about surveying consumer attitudes about the safety of flour.

    b. AACC supply chain survey – Bob Sombke, North Dakota Mill & Elevator – no further developments since the September meeting.

    c. September meeting identified priority food safety issues for the committee as:
    -Proliferation of FDA inspections
    -Surveillance vs. enforcement
    -Statistical sampling
    -Uneven application of rules across geographies

    d. Any changes?

  7. Creation of NAMA Biotechnology Committee – Mary Waters
    Ms. Waters stated that NAMA’s Biotechnology Committee was created to provide advice to the Board and Executive Committee on broader biotechnology policy and be a public demonstration of support for biotechnology.
  8. Information items – discussion if neededa. Combustible dust
    Mr. Bair gave a report on respirable dust and explosive dust.

    b. Respirable dust

    c. DHS chemical regulation

    d. FGIS grain standards
    Mr. Bair reported that FGIS might release the results of its periodic review of the wheat standards soon.

  9. Other Business
    Ms. Gay expressed a concern on records access for government officials in plants – DHS in addition to FDA officials. We need information on what they need to have/should have.Ms. Waters stated that other organizations are working on opposing user fees. This will be a discussion for the NAMA board. There was a discussion about whether there will be federal funds to do more inspections.

    Mr. Mennel noted that Homeland Security (DHS) personnel stopped by mill just to introduce themselves.

    Ms. Waters asked if members were continuing to hear from Wal-Mart on sustainability. The Committee said they were along with other retailers. They agreed a standard document on what the industry is doing for sustainability would be very helpful.

  10. Adjournment
    Chairman Sullins adjourned the meeting at 12:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Waters,
President

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