North American Millers’ Association
Oat Division Meeting
The Grove Park Inn
Friday, October 26, 2012
3:15 – 4:45PM
Cullen Harder, Chairman, Grain Millers, Inc.
Keith Ballard, PepsiCo/Quaker Oats
Jim Meyer, Italgrani, USA
Mark Ramsland, General Mills, Inc.
Bruce Roskens, Grain Millers, Inc.
Rick Schwein, Grain Millers, Inc.
Dan Ward, La Crosse Milling Company
John Wiebold, General Mills, Inc.
Eric Jackson, General Mills, Inc.
Mary Waters, President
Jim Bair, Staff Liaison, Vice President
Sherri Lehman, Director of Government Affairs
Terri Long, Director of Communications and Meetings
Lyndsey Valentine, Administrative Assistant
Robert Myers, Jr., Legal Counsel, Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP
1. Call to Order- Cullen Harder, chairman, Grain Millers, Inc.
Mr. Harder called the meeting to order at 3:25p.m.
a. Introductions- Cullen Harder, Grain Millers, Inc.
Self-introductions were made.
b. Review of Antitrust Guidelines- Robert H. Myers, Legal Counsel, Morris, Manning, & Martin, LLP
Mr. Myers, legal counsel, reviewed the antitrust guidelines.
a. Approval of Minutes- Jim Bair, NAMA
The March 11, 2012 Oat Division minutes were distributed prior to the meeting for review. Mr. Ballard moved to approve the minutes. Mr. Ramsland seconded the motion. The minutes were approved at 3:29p.m.
b. Report on Oat Division Reserve Fund & Budget- Mary Waters, NAMA
Ms. Waters reported that there is $16,421.38 in the Oat Division Reserve Fund.
3. Items for Discussion
i. NA-CORE Project – Eric Jackson, General Mills, Inc.
Mr. Jackson presented a briefing on the status of NA-CORE and funding needs going forward. Mr. Schwein had earlier meetings with members discussing the funding and deliverables of NA-CORE and expressed concern that NAMA members were not receiving the full benefit of their investment. Mr. Schwein said the most troubling part of NA-CORE was access to data. There was a concern the advisory group did not function and uncertainty about data being generated and how information was being received. There was concern on transparency and if information was being distilled before becoming available. Additional concerns about USDA’s lack of engagement were expressed.
The first year of data is complete, and Mitch Wise is completing other testing. NA-CORE has an online data portal so breeders can extract for analysis. Additional tools have been added to move to the next area: moving yield ahead at a higher rate
Mr. Schwein asked “how do we as funders engage in the process so that we do not feel like the ship has left port and we are left standing on the dock?” Mr Schwein asked Ms. Waters if this is something NAMA can take on. Mr. Schwein said the researchers are committing to answering the questions asked by the millers. How do we ensure we get the payback? Mr. Jackson had planned to meet with researchers in November, however, at the request of oat division members, he agreed to schedule it for a later date when oat millers can attend.
Mr. Ward expressed his view that this was an investment policy for the oat millers and fully supports what they are doing. Mr. Schwein asked if there is a consensus to reconvene on NA-CORE? If that is the case, can we convene a smaller group on a conference call to draft a statement?
ii. Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus project – Bruce Roskens, Grain Millers, Inc.
Mr. Roskens said Fred Kolb, University of Illinois, suggested a proposal to address Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV). BYDV is a plant disease that can affect oats throughout the US and Canada growing regions. Mr. Kolb is a leader in BYDV research. The University of Illinois is uniquely suited as a BYDV research location because it is on the border of winter and spring crop production areas. A year ago, Mr. Kolb told the industry that he was losing the research funding and the scientist working on the project. He proposed a project funded at $21,000 per year over three years. Mr. Roskens recommended we continue the program. Ms. Waters said the budget includes this funding and recognizes it is a multi-year commitment.
b. Food Safety Modernization Act
i. Updated on FSMA Implementation- Sherri Lehman, NAMA
Ms. Lehman said regulations have been delayed and will hopefully come out sometime after the election. The renewal of your registration has begun. It did not come online until October 22, therefore they may be extending the deadline for registration.
c. Mycotoxins – Jim Bair, NAMA
i. New crop concerns
Mr. Bair noted that on August 23 he sent to the Technical Committee and oat millers the CFIA report of results of analysis of 943 food samples for presence of OTA and DON. 67% of the samples showed no detectable levels. CFIA said the results show “no risk to consumers”. 99% of the samples were in compliance with the proposed Maximum Levels (raw grains 5ppb; flour 3ppb; breakfast cereals 3ppb; wheat bran 7ppb; infant cereals 0.5ppb). Infant cereals remain a category of concern.
ii. Canada laws and regulations
Mr. Bair said in 2011 NAMA identified as a priority to seek harmonization between food safety laws between Canada and the US. Under US law, FDA is provided flexibility to deal with naturally occurring contaminants such as mycotoxins if it is present in quantities that are so insignificant the impact on human health is minimal. Canada’s rules allow no such flexibility and do not make a distinction between naturally occurring and man-made contaminants.
We have been pushing the idea of aligning Canada’s laws with those of the US and we are making information available to Members of Parliament and others. Canada’s Senate passed a food safety bill, however, it did not include the language to align statutes. The Canadian National Millers’ Association (CNMA) has drafted amendments they hope will be adopted when the legislation is taken up by the House of Commons. Mr. Schwein asked what CNMA CEO Gordon Harrison estimates the chances of success. Mr. Bair said he thinks the odds are long at this point, but it’s worth the effort given the importance of the issue.
iii. OTA update
Mr. Bair said at the moment the FDA has no guidelines regarding OTA. CNMA has been working with Dr. Tom Whitaker to design a sampling and testing program for OTA. Statistically, there are only 3 ways to improve sampling and testing schemes: take bigger samples, take multiple samples, or perform repeat analyses of the same sample. Given the target maximum level and industry input on testing specifics, Whitaker can then generate an operating characteristic (OC) curve.
Felicia Woo from the University of Pittsburgh has written a paper on human health effects of OTA, or lack there of, that has been accepted for publication by the scientific journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.
Mr. Schwein asked if anything is happening on the international regulatory front to give concern? Mr. Bair said that with respect to DON, Codex has been discussing setting MLs. The US is alone in not having MLs on raw grain. Thus far NAMA has been able to successfully convince FDA that there is no need for maximum levels on raw grain, reasoning that unnecessarily handcuffs millers who may have different responses. For example, one miller may choose to invest in grain cleaning equipment, whereas another miller may choose to originate grain from a non-traditional area. Both are legitimate strategies.
4. Other Business
Mr. Roskens asked about the email recently sent to the Technical Committee that they received in their Oat Division folders. The email described USDA testing of foods including oats and oat products for the presence of pesticide residues. Mr. Bair said he checked and none of the samples contained residues of pesticides not approved for use on oats, nor were the levels found in excess of the tolerances.
Mr. Harder discussed the Prairie Oat Growers’ Association (POGA) annual meeting on December 6 in Saskatoon. He has asked Mr. Bair to represent NAMA. Mr. Roskens said it is an important year for POGA. He hopes POGA will be able to pull in attendees from Alberta. POGA will be receiving grower funds from a check-off program in Alberta. It is important that NAMA help guide investment of the funds in appropriate research programs.
Mr. Ramsland made a motion for adjournment. Mr. Roskens seconded the motion. Mr. Harder adjourned the meeting at 5:29p.m.