This week in Washington: March 28-April 1

Congress is out on Easter recess, but key meetings will be held that will affect policy on key agricultural issues.

Congress isn’t in session this week as it remains out for the Easter recess. Other key meetings will be held that will affect policy on key agricultural issues.

Meat and poultry inspection committee meeting: The National Advisory Committee on Meat & Poultry Inspection (NACMPI) will host a two-day public meeting to review Listeria monocytogenes control at retail outlets and the possibility of including mandatory features on the label of processed, not-ready-to-eat products that appear as ready-to-eat. The meeting will be held March 29-30 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Registration will begin on site at 8:30 a.m. each day.

Additional details and the meeting agenda will be accessible on the NACMPI website at www.fsis.usda.gov/About_FSIS/NACMPI.

Modernizing biotech regulations public meeting: Under the auspices of the National Science & Technology Council, the Food & Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) is hosting its third public stakeholder hearing to discuss the memorandum entitled, "Modernizing the Regulatory System for Biotechnology Products," issued by the Executive Office of the President (EOP) in July 2015. The third public meeting will be held on March 30, 2016, at the University of California-Davis Conference Center in Davis, Cal.

Those planning to attend either in person or via the web are asked to register in advance. Two draft documents are available that will be the basis for discussion at the March 30 meeting: a document with eight case studies of hypothetical biotech products, and a table of oversight authorities related to biotech products.

Vilsack at heroin summit: On Monday, March 28, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will provide keynote remarks at Operation UNITE’s fifth annual National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit.  Following the remarks, Vilsack will be joined by West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Gov. Earl Ray Tomlin for an armchair discussion on opioid addiction in rural communities moderated by Mark Birdwhistell, vice president of the University of Kentucky Health Care.

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