NATIONAL MEAT ASSOCIATION h 1970 Broadway, Suite 825, Oakland, CA 94612
Edited by Jeremy Russell
February 25, 2002
NMA 56th ANNUAL CONVENTION A RAVE
It may seem like a slow year, but NMA’s 56th Annual Convention proved that it’s anything but that for the National Meat Association. With an attendance of over 400 and packed events and seminars, the NMA team pulled off one of its best conventions ever. And all of this despite the draw of weather in Monterey, California so gorgeous even the locals were pleasantly shocked
NMA Executive Director Rosemary Mucklow, with the assistance of the NMA Convention Planners, a committee of under-40s who helped out for the second year this year, pulled together an extremely strong group of speakers. (For a complete list of topics and an order form for audio cassettes, turn to page 2.)
TO PREVENT Salmonella, A LETTER TO THE TIMES
National Meat Association Executive Director Rosemary Mucklow’s letter to the editors of the New York Times (embedded to right) was published Saturday, February 16 under the heading “To Prevent Salmonella.” This was an entirely appropriate header for an important communication to the editors and readers of the Times about a misguided editorial published on February 9, titled “Movement on Meat Safety.” The Times editors concluded that “the Supreme Beef Processors decision has left a hole in the inspection system, putting consumers everywhere at increased risk.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. Removing a faulty, ineffective standard can only improve food safety, by allowing companies to focus their attention on effective strategies and by moving the government towards implementing a functional standard.
NEW NMA MEMBERSHIP CATEGORY
The NMA Membership and Associate Advisory Committees proposed to the Board that NMA adopt a new category of membership called “Associate, Insurance Only.” This category would pull in firms, such a fish companies, that would not normally belong but might want to share the benefits of NMA’s Insurance Program. This would increase potential dividends and provide a pool of potential members for other membership categories.
Attendees declared the 5th Annual American Meat Science Association’s Western Science Conference, held in conjunction with NMA’s Annual Convention in Monterey, California, as one of the clearest, most concise programs presented. Highlights of the “HACCP Plan and CCP Validation” conference, included the unveiling of a searchable database, by Dr. Kerri Harris, Executive Director, International HACCP Alliance, that will be available for industry to use for locating scientific articles that support HACCP plans.
Bobby Palesano, FSIS Technical Service Centers, gave a candid presentation on the role of Consumer Safety Officers and the plant’s responsibility of plant’s regulatory responsibilities for HACCP plan validation. Also, featured was Dr. Sue Hefle, Co-Director of the Food Allergen Research and Resource Program at University of Nebraska, who emphasized the importance of meat processors understanding allergen control. NMA and AMSA would like to thank all the conference presenters including Robert Savage, HACCP Consulting Group, Dr. Lynn Delmore, Golden State Foods, Dr. Ann Hollingsworth, Better Built Foods, Bob Hanson, Alkar Division of DEC International, Dr. Any Milkowski, Oscar Mayer, and a special thanks to AMSA Western Science Conference Chair, Dr. Jennifer Johnson, Emmpak Foods and AMSA President, Dr Jeff Savell, Texas A&M University for their assistance in coordinating this conference.
Supplier of the Year was given to Steve Tennis of Handtmann. Tennis has been a Director of the National Meat Association and is a long time supporter of the industry. The Professional of the Year went to recently retired USDA District Manager Helmut Blume for excellence in regulatory service. Phil Olsson of Olsson, Frank and Weeda was awarded NMA's E. Floyd Forbes.
Bussetto Foods took home the “Hold the Mustard” Award in a landslide during the Sausagefest 2002 for its Sopressatta Calabrese. However, all fifteen the of products showcased were delectable.
Both major speakers at NMA’s 56th Annual Convention found themselves facing a full house. It was strictly standing room only for these events.
This year’s keynote speaker, Smithfield President and CEO Joseph Luter III, was outstanding. On Saturday, February 23, he covered a brief history of his company, anti-meat antagonists and the need to be politically active. When it came to describing the future of the business, his theme was: “Consistent! Consistent! Consistent!” Whether it’s pork, poultry or beef, what the consumer wants is to know what they are buying at the point of purchase. “At the end of the day,” he said, “it’s the consumer who decides, not the producer.”
USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Elsa Murano spoke at NMA’s General Session on Thursday, February 21. She described her five goals for the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS). These goals are to (1) protect food security, (2) enhance coordination between agencies, (3) make science-based standards, (4) make FSIS a force in consumer education, and (5) improve Agency management. As she put it, “I’m committed to ensuring that FSIS is the best trained and best educated agency of all.” A panel including NMA President Terry Caviness, NMA Legal Counsel Phil Olsson, NMA Vice President Ted Miller, NMA Director Lou Gast and NMA Executive Director Rosemary Mucklow, then assisted Murano in further explicating her expressed commitment in a question and answer session. (Murano’s prepared remarks are available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/oa/speeches/speeches.htm.)
The Processed Meats Committee and the Food Safety Committee jointly resolved to urge clarification on FSIS’s current chain of command. Basically, the committees wanted to know without confusion where to direct responses to actions and reports received from various FSIS staff officers including Compliance Officers, Consumer Safety Officers, In-Depth Review Teams, and Humane Animal Treatment Specialists.
The Membership Committee resolved to continue its discounted membership rate for first time, new members and decided to expand the campaign to include advertising supplements for the Membership Benefits Brochure. The Committee also decided to continue with its Member-get-a-Member program. The Beef Committee reviewed Temple Grandin’s Cattle Transport Guidelines (Grandin will speak at NMA’s upcoming Livestock Handling Seminar) and discussed the issues of grading imported carcasses and country of origin labeling. The Small Stock Committee discussed the continued lamb promotion project. The Education Committee reviewed the success of the NMA Scholarship Foundation and unveiled NMA’s 2002 Seminar schedule (see NMAonline.org for the schedule). the Workplace Issues Committee met to discuss the 2001 Salary and Benefits Survey and the NMA Workers Compensation Insurance Program.
The Executive Committee updated approved the budget. The Strategic Planning Committee resolved to meet and develop a new plan.
The NMA Board of Directors elected the following new officers to serve in the year beginning July 1: Immediate Past Chairman Joe Azzaro, Board Chairman Terry Caviness, President Ted Miller, Vice President Curry Roberts, Secretary Warren Wilcox, Treasurer Tom Campanile, Member at Large Marty Evanson and Executive Director Rosemary Mucklow. Wayne Keener was elected an Honorary Director. The following people were made Directors: Biff Benbow of Schenk Packing, Tom Campanile of Oberto Sausage, and John Duyn of Carlton Packing for Region 1; Medhi Shirazi of Superior Farms, John Piccetti of San Francisco Sausage, and Mike Stanaland of Goodmark Foods for Region 2; Bill Bridgford of Bridgford Foods, Todd Waldman of United Food Group, and Andy Lofquist of King Meat Packing for Region 3; Russell Cross of Future Beef and Ben Badiola of SSI Food Services for Region 4; Tim Biela of Texas American Foodservice, Jarrod Stokes of San Angelo Packing Co., and John Soules, Jr. of John Soules Foods for Region 5; Bernie Hanson of Flint Hill Foods for Region 6; Dane Bernard of Keystone/Shapiro for Region 7; and Joe Luter of Smithfield/Packerland and Jay Goldberger of GFI America for Region 8. Bob Savage of the HACCP Consulting Group and Roger Reiser of Robert Reiser & Co. were both elected Director reps for Associate Members.
According to the Wall Street Journal today, Smithfield Foods, whose CEO spoke at NMA’s Convention, outperformed all other companies in the Food Products category for 10-year average return.
NATIONAL MEAT ASSOCIATION
NMA - East: 1400 - 16th St. N.W., Suite 400, Washington D.C. 20036 Ph. (202) 667-2108
NMA - West: 1970 Broadway, Suite 825, Oakland, CA 94612 Ph. (510) 763-1533 Fax (510) 763-6186
Edited by Jeremy Russell
February 25, 2002
FARM BILL HEADS FOR CONFERENCE
The Senate named its conferees who will decide the final provisions for the 2002 Farm Bill last week before Congress adjourned for the President's Day recess. Senate conferees will be Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Tom Daschle (D-SD), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Jesse Helms (R-NC), and Thad Cochran (R-MS). House conferees will not be officially announced until the week of February 25 when the Senate bill is officially sent to the House. However, the House negotiators will be led by Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-TX). The farm bill conference committee will not officially meet until all conferees are officially named and it is still uncertain how many of their sessions will be conducted in public forums.
The NMA Board resolved to strongly oppose any suggestion of a ban on packer ownership of livestock in the upcoming Farm Bill. NMA is also oppossed to the ban on grading imported beef and lamb carcasses and the country of origin labeling provision.
SCHOOL LUNCH BUYS MEETING
The Livestock and Seed Program of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) issued an invitation to interested contractors and meat suppliers to participate in its annual conference to discuss the AMS commodity purchase and distribution program in Kansas City, MO, on May 2. Topics of discussion will include specification updates, certification issues, and other purchase program initiatives. Starting July 1, 2002, AMS will only accept bids submitted through the Domestic Electronic Bid Entry System (DEBES). Informational sessions on submission of bids through DEBES will be provided at the Industry Conference. Pre-registration for the conference is requested by April 12. E-mail [email protected] for a registration form. NMA will host a reception for attendees on the evening of May 1.
NMA PARTICIPATES IN AMICI IN WISCONSIN CASE
A motion to appear as amici was filed by six trade organizations including National Meat Association last Friday in State of Wisconsin Circuit Court, Case Code: 30107 – Personal Injury cases (consolidated E. coli O157:H7 cases). The motion was accompanied by a brief emphasizing that, not only national uniformity of food safety standards is important, but that such uniformity is good policy, makes good sense, and is provided for in current federal law, and with specific reference in this instance, in the preemption provisions in the Federal Meat Inspection Act.
The Food Safety Educator, the quarterly newsletter produced by the FSIS Food Safety Education staff, is now available online at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OA/educator/educator.htm. The current issue features the FSIS educational campaign to educate pregnant women on the risks of Listeria monocytogenes. Also in this issue is a profile of Under Secretary for Food Safety Elsa Murano (who spoke last week at NMA’s 56th Annual Convention).
SECOND FSIS LAB IS ACCREDITED
FSIS announced February 21 that its Eastern laboratory in Athens, GA, became the second of the agency's laboratories to receive accreditation under ISO Standard 17025. This standard is internationally recognized as a comprehensive and rigorous standard for food testing laboratories. The Eastern laboratory conducts various regulatory analyses for FSIS, including microbiological and chemical testing, pathology and food chemistry. Accreditation was granted by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation, the accrediting body in the United States recognized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). FSIS initiated the accreditation process three years ago.
The Office of Policy, Program Development and Evaluation's Labeling and Consumer Protection Staff has produced a “Labeling 101” PowerPoint presentation on labeling requirements for FSIS-Regulated Product. The Labeling and Consumer Protection Staff is using this presentation as a learning tool at food labeling workshops for industry in various location throughout the United States. The presentation is accessible at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/larc/Label101/index.htm.
It is with great sadness that we report the death on Friday, February 15, of Cal Santare. Cal was the Executive Director of Western States Meat Packers Association (WSMPA) from 1970 until the merger with Pacific Coast Meat Association (PCMA), which he negotiated, in 1982. He was a man of tremendous energy, vitality and integrity. He filled any room with his effervescent personality, and he drove a tough agenda to reestablish Western States as a major organization representing meat packers and processors during hugely changing times.
Cal loved his wife Mary, to whom he had been married to for 48 years at the time of her death, and his sons Tony and Mark, and their families. He was especially proud that Tony followed him into the meat industry, and that Mark’s wife, Sue Ellen, worked for our organization for ten years.
Cal was one of the “boys.” He was a “can-do” guy. He was also a highly respected alumni of the Agricultural Marketing Service where he held successively important positions in the Meat Grading Service. NMA presented him with its E. Floyd Forbes Award in 1982 for outstanding service. In his retirement, Cal continued to golf and established himself as a teacher of computer skills to seniors in his hometown, Alameda.
To spend five minutes with this man might change your life; to share an office with him, as Rosemary Mucklow did after the WSMPA/PCMA merger, was like riding on a roller coaster with lots of thrills! He was enormously proud of NMA as it stands today, and he rightfully commands some of the forethought invested by its earlier leaders that made it possible.
We extend our condolences to his family in their loss.
FDA DEPUTY COMMISSION NAMED
HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today named Lester M. Crawford Jr., D.V.M., Ph.D., to serve as deputy commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Crawford begins the position immediately. Dr. Crawford most recently served as head of the Center for Food and Nutrition Policy at Virginia Tech. He also served as administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service from 1987 to 1991 and as director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine from 1978 to 1980, and again from 1982 to 1985. Dr. Crawford has served as the executive director of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, executive vice president of the National Food Processors Association, chairman of the University of Georgia's Department of Physiology-Pharmacology, and as a practicing veterinarian.