Agencies collaborate on foodborne hazards: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will provide a more comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to address foodborne health hazards associated with meat, poultry and processed egg products. "The FSIS investigation process identifies health hazards in meat and poultry products, and this agreement leverages the expertise of personnel from (CDC and ATSDR) to complement that process," FSIS administrator Al Almanza said. The MOU outlines mutual roles and responsibilities for training personnel and planning interagency assessments of FSIS-regulated establishments as part of foodborne illness investigations and health hazard evaluations. USDA noted that the MOU does not modify any existing interagency collaborative work, which includes illness cluster and outbreak investigations.
Sanitary transport rule comment period: The Food & Drug Administration extended the comment period by 60 days on its proposed Sanitary Transportation of Human & Animal Food rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act. The comment period originally was scheduled to end May 31. The extension also applies to the associated information collection provisions. The proposed rule appeared in the Feb. 5 Federal Register. FDA said it is taking this action in response to requests for additional time to submit comments. The proposal would require certain shippers, receivers and carriers that transport food by motor vehicles or rail to take steps to prevent the contamination of human and animal food during transport. It would establish criteria for sanitary transportation practices, such as properly refrigerating food, adequately cleaning vehicles between loads and properly protecting food during transport.
Partnership to help curb water pollution: The Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force, a coalition of five federal agencies, announced a partnership with 12 land-grant universities to support state-level strategies and actions to curb water pollution. The agreement is the task force's first with non-governmental entities. Individual states already collaborate with their respective land-grant universities on local water quality research and agricultural programs, but to date, there has not been a specific focus on the goals and activities of the task force or a formal process for sharing university research and ideas across the 12 states. This new network will bring additional expertise to help reduce nutrient runoff and advise the task force and other policy-makers. University scientists and policy experts are working to put science into practice by providing educational programs for farmers, local businesses and conservation and watershed management professionals. The universities are: Purdue University, University of Illinois, University of Arkansas, University of Kentucky, Mississippi State University, Ohio State University, University of Tennessee, University of Missouri, University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, Iowa State University and Louisiana State University.
Meyer acting chair for ag outlook board: Dr. Gerald Bange, chair of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's World Agricultural Outlook Board, plans to retire May 31. USDA chief economist Joseph Glauber appointed Dr. Seth Meyer as acting chair of the board. Meyer is currently a senior economist in the USDA Office of the Chief Economist and will assume his new duties on June 1. Bange is responsible for the monthly forecasts within the "World Agricultural Supply & Demand Estimates" report and for the Joint Agricultural Weather Facility. He also served as program chair for the annual Agricultural Outlook Forum. Glauber noted that "Meyer is well prepared for the demands of the post." Meyer joined USDA in 2013 as a senior economist for domestic agricultural policy. Prior to joining USDA, Meyer was an economist in the Economic & Social Development Department of the U.N. Food & Agricultural Organization. Meyer also served as a research associate professor in the department of agricultural economics at the University of Missouri as part of its Food & Agricultural Policy Research Institute.
Threonine price: The Health & Nutrition Business Unit of Evonik Industries announced a price increase of 0.30 euros/kg for its ThreAMINO (L-threonine 98.5% feed grade) for animal nutrition, effective immediately. All existing contracts and supply agreements will be honored. Evonik, based in Germany, produces and markets the four most important essential amino acids for modern animal nutrition.
Vetter endorsed: Last Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee approved the nomination of Darci Vetter as the next chief agricultural negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative. Vetter is currently deputy undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a position she has held since 2010. Prior to her service with USDA, she was an international trade adviser on the Senate Finance Committee. Vetter also served as USTR director of agricultural affairs from 2005 to 2007 and as USTR director for sustainable development from 2001 to 2005. The committee held a hearing on her nomination May 8.
Headspace bottle: Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. introduced the 3FLEX 50 Doses HSB (head space bottle) vaccine for swine veterinarians and producers to control three of the most common respiratory diseases in pigs: porcine circovirus, Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS). Each 3FLEX vaccine package contains a bottle of Ingelvac CircoFLEX, Ingelvac MycoFLEX and Ingelvac PRRS MLV. The Ingelvac MycoFLEX is supplied in a headspace bottle with extra capacity for the purpose of aseptic mixing, making it easier to mix and administer all three vaccines in a single 2 mL dose, the company said.