Feedstuffs is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Alberta sample tests weak environmental positive for PED virus

Logo to stop porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV)

A sample collected by Alberta's swine disease surveillance program has tested weak environmental positive for porcine epidemic diarrhea virus. The sample was taken from a location in Alberta and analyzed at Alberta Agriculture and Forestry's laboratory on Jan. 22.

Alberta Pork is working closely with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry to mitigate any risks of potential disease exposure. Any producers or industry partners directly affected by this discovery have been notified, and all relevant parties are cooperating with Alberta Pork and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

Strict biosecurity protocols are of utmost importance in limiting the impact of disease in agriculture. It is critical that producers and industry partners remain vigilant. Always practice proper biosecurity on-farm and during animal transportation. Be sure to properly wash transport trailers and equipment, and submit all swine manifests, including farm-to-farm movements, to Alberta Pork in a timely manner. Biosecurity and traceability are important parts of effective disease prevention.

All producers and industry partners are encouraged to consult the materials found in Alberta Pork's online Health Toolbox and consider the following:

  • Swine disease may be present at any time at any location where pigs are found, especially farms, assembly yards and abattoirs.
  • Individuals and equipment in contact with pigs may be a risk for swine disease transmission. Individuals include producers, farm workers, transporters, assemblers and abattoir workers, while equipment includes any object in a pig barn, any vehicle on-farm, any clothing worn by persons entering a barn, feed, medicines and anything else handled by persons who work with pigs.
  • Consider enhancing your biosecurity protocols by adopting Alberta Pork’s overseas visitor protocol and visitor and staff downtime protocols, along with performing a biosecurity assessment at no cost to producers, to identify any gaps in your biosecurity protocols.

Alberta Pork will communicate any further updates if needed. Read the official update from the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian.

Source: Alberta Pork, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

NASDA comments on EPA’s pesticide rule changes

Thinkstock farmer spraying pesticides

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approving its revisions to pesticide Application Exclusion Zone (AEZ) requirements. NASDA’s comments outlined the importance of clear regulations, flexibility for farm operators and assured safety for all farm workers.

“NASDA is confident that the safety of farmers and farm workers will not be compromised by any of these changes,” NASDA chief executive officer Dr. Barb Glenn said in the comments. The proposed revisions will also clarify AEZ requirements and changes, creating more consistency for pesticide operators.

Noting that NASDA represents the lead state agencies for implementing agricultural regulations, Glenn encouraged EPA to work closely with NASDA members on incorporating the AEZ revisions.

The proposed revisions would limit the AEZ to within the boundaries of the agricultural establishment. NASDA supports the change and believes that the revised proposal will create more consistency.

NASDA's comments said it is important to highlight that pesticide handlers are already complying with multiple safety measurements under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Worker Protection Standard (WPS), such as the “do not contact” requirement, which implements restrictions during applications by ensuring that the pesticides applied do not contact workers or other people. 

“Protecting agricultural workers from potential adverse effects of pesticides is an important function of state departments of agriculture, which are the primary co-regulators of FIFRA with EPA. NASDA is supportive of the EPA’s WPS measures, but as this regulatory framework evolves, we need to ensure that the new provisions being included are not duplicative, unnecessary or confusing,” the comments noted.

The 2015 WPS rule was silent on if and when a handler could resume an application after it has been suspended because workers or other people were present in the AEZ. This was probably because EPA never envisioned that AEZ requirements could lead to an application being potentially suspended permanently. The clarification being proposed by EPA to explicitly state when applications can be resumed are welcomed. EPA is proposing revise the WPS to clarify that handlers may resume a suspended application when no workers or other people remain in an AEZ within the boundaries of the establishment.

“Even though this clarification may seem common sense, when dealing with pesticide safety rules, clarity is key,” NASDA said.

As Glenn stated after EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s announcement of the new provisions in October 2019, NASDA members take seriously the responsibility to protect the nation’s agricultural workforce and the viability of farms and ranches.

JBS USA recognized for aligning with beef sustainability framework

erdinhasdemir/iStock/Thinkstock cattle in feedlot

JBS USA recently became the first beef company to achieve recognition across the cow/calf, feedyard and processing segments of the supply chain for alignment to the U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework. The framework is an industry-adopted resource that outlines key areas of sustainability and opportunities for improvement across the beef value chain. It is comprised of high-priority indicators, sector-specific metrics and sustainability assessment guides.

The recognition applies to JBS USA’s nine beef production facilities in Cactus, Texas; Grand Island, Neb.; Greeley, Colo., Green Bay, Wis.; Hyrum, Utah; Omaha, Neb.; Plainwell, Mich.; Souderton, Pa., and Tolleson, Ariz. JBS USA said this achievement is a further testament of its commitment to continuous improvement and complements the company’s existing, robust sustainability initiatives across the cow/calf, feedyard and beef production facilities across its value chain.

“JBS USA has been on a journey to elevate our sustainability programs, validate our progress and produce great-tasting, sustainable food that our customers and consumers are proud to serve their family and friends,” JBS USA director of sustainability Dr. Kim Stackhouse said. “This important recognition by the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef illustrates our ongoing commitment to beef sustainability. Across four brands, various feedyard partners and nine production facilities, the framework helps us document sustainability performance and assess our progress.”

Each program underwent third-party review through the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef recognition program to demonstrate alignment to the framework. These reviews assessed each program’s approach to sustainability and incorporation of framework principles, including animal welfare, land and water resources and air and greenhouse gas emissions, among other areas.

“Efforts to seek alignment to the U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework demonstrate the commitment of our supply chain partners to showcase the unmatched sustainability performance of the U.S. beef industry,” U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef chair Ben Weinheimer said. “It also helps communicate the great strides of the industry to reduce the environmental footprint of U.S. beef, improve profitability across the supply chain and ensure quality that consumers expect through voluntary, holistic practices. We’re proud JBS USA is taking this step to tell the industry’s sustainability story.”

JBS, WH Group sign supply, distribution agreement

PeopleImages/iStock/Getty Images handshake over business deal

Brazilian meat company JBS S.A. announced Jan. 27 that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese meat and food processing company WH Group for the supply and distribution of fresh beef, poultry and pork to the Chinese market. JBS and WH Group will jointly offer a portfolio of Friboi and Seara branded products in a deal that could reach approximately $712 million (3 billion reals) in business per year.

"This agreement reflects the maturity and evolution of our trade relations with China," Friboi president Renato Costa said. "We have seen changes in the Chinese consumer profile regarding protein consumption and a growing concern for food quality, product traceability and enhanced food safety. To meet this demand, we have developed on-the-ground teams and dedicated partnerships and projects in China."

In addition to expanding JBS's products and brand presence in China with the focus on beef, the major objective of the agreement is to have direct access to consumers through more than 60,000 exclusive WH Group points of sale in the country.

"It will be an opportunity for us to evolve in our supply chain in an unprecedented business model for JBS," Costa added.

The first shipments of products under this agreement will start in the first quarter of this year.

General Mills tests paying farmers for ecosystem efforts

iStock Getty Images FPS piggy bank in field of dollar bills_FDS_Aluxum_iStock_Getty Images-1540x800.jpg
MORE MONEY: USDA announces details of offering 80% indemnity payments for livestock producers who had to depopulate animals during COVID pandemic meat processing plant shutdowns.

General Mills, the Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE) and the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to pilot test ESMC's program that rewards farmers for generating environmental assets by improving soil health on their land.

This pilot project will test ESMC's protocols and processes to measure and reward the impacts of beneficial agricultural management in an ecosystem services market for agriculture. ESMC's impact-based program will, in turn, pay farmers for increasing carbon in the soil, reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) and improving water quantity and water use efficiency.

General Mills, KDHE and ESMC will work with farmers growing row crops in Kansas to improve sustainable agriculture outcomes. The pilot opportunity is being made available to producers participating in the General Mills regenerative agriculture program.

"This unprecedented pilot is a leading example of public and private sectors coming together to quantify environmental improvements and compensate farmers for implementing soil health and regenerative practices on their operations," said Mary Jane Melendez, chief sustainability and social impact officer at General Mills. "We must demonstrate not only meaningful and measurable environmental benefits to communities at large but economic benefit to farmers as well."

KDHE officials believe payments to farmers based on quantified and verified soil health and water quality impacts will accelerate progress toward achieving water quality goals. By working collaboratively, all three organizations hope to demonstrate how agricultural solutions can deliver results that reduce costs to taxpayers and public water authorities.

"The goal of the pilot program is to encourage farming practices that improve both soil health and water quality in the Cheney Reservoir region such that agriculture is the solution to a more resilient and clean water supply for Wichita [Kan.] residents," said Leo Henning, deputy secretary of the Division of Environment at the Kansas Department of Health & Environment. "We believe regenerative agriculture can improve the quality of this vital water source, and if we are successful, it's win-win-win, for farmers, communities and the environment."

General Mills has partnered with consultants from Understanding Ag, who will work with participating producers to identify and implement changes to their farming practices that will improve soil health and store more carbon in agricultural soils. Understanding Ag's farm advisors will also collect the information needed to quantify and verify the environmental assets generated from the practice changes.

ESMC will quantify the impacts, verify them independently and then generate certified credits based on actual impacts to ecosystem services attained. The certified impacts allow the benefits to be assigned to another organization's sustainability obligations. General Mills will utilize GHG improvements in its sustainability reporting, while KDHE will identify buyers who seek certified water quality benefits that participating farmers achieve.

"This project will result in real, quantified reductions of GHG emissions and nutrient loading to surface water while also providing key insights to attain efficiency and scale," ESMC executive director Debbie Reed said. "Thorough understanding of how cropland can provide ecosystem services is essential as we strive to offer our programming from coast to coast and ultimately reward producers for services provided across 250 million acres."

ESMC is launching several more pilots this winter and spring in the Midwest corn and soybean growing region, focusing on row crop and grain production systems. The consortium is building a national-scale ecosystem services market designed and conceived for the agriculture sector. It plans a 2022 full market launch of its Ecosystem Services Market. ESMC seeks to enroll 30% of available working lands in the top four crop regions and top four pasture regions to have an impact on 250 million acres by 2030.

UAV research aims for remote health monitoring of cows

Photo by: Eric Sanders. U Kentucky drone cows.jpg
In the basement of an engineering building on UK's campus, there's a calf replica who goes by the name of Chuck, which has been instrumental in perfecting the machine-learning and UAV-formation-control technology.

Every year, nearly 3 million cows in the U.S. die from health problems, which is costing the cattle industry more than $1 billion, according to the University of Kentucky.

Combating this economic loss starts at the producer level with improved observation of cows in the pasture, which has been shown to reduce herd loss, the university said, noting that constant monitoring of beef cattle may be problematic since they spend a significant amount of time outside.

With a $900,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Jesse Hoagg, the Donald & Gertrude Lester professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Kentucky, is working on a non-invasive health monitoring approach using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), otherwise known as drones.

The drones would provide farmers with a way to remotely and autonomously check on the location and health of each cow, thus allowing them to address cattle health and safety issues much sooner, the university said.

“This project tackles an important problem: reducing cattle loss," Hoagg said. "The approach that we are developing is highly interdisciplinary, drawing on expertise in robotics, computer science, control systems, agricultural engineering and livestock systems."

Cattle producer Josh Jackson, an assistant extension professor in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food & Environment, said the motivation for the project came while he was trying to find his Angus herd in the dark.

“Many Kentucky cattle producers have jobs off the farm, and it gets tricky to locate cows this time of the year, when the sun sets so early,” he explained. “We want to lessen producers’ stress by helping them locate their animals quicker and help sick animals faster.”

The new system aims to identify each cow in a pasture through unique characteristics such as facial features and to measure vital health information like size and physical activity.

Hoagg and his team of professor and student researchers have been conducting experiments in an engineering building on campus with a replica calf ("Chuck") that has been instrumental in perfecting the machine learning and UAV formation control technology.

Hoagg explained, “Our indoor UAV flight facility allows us to develop and test formation control approaches in a controlled environment. This is an important first step before outdoor testing.”

In the system, an observer drone hovers 50-100 ft. above the herd. Using stereo cameras, the drone tracks motion to determine the location of the cattle, Hoagg said. Meanwhile, three worker drones use that location information to track a specific cow. The worker drones then perform the health monitoring tasks.

A software program the team has custom built tells the drones when to execute maneuvers such as maintaining formations around a cow and tracking the cow.

Zack Lippay, a doctoral student leading these test flights, has dedicated more than two years to the project. “We’re trying to prove that this method is safe," he explained. "Everything is completely autonomous, but we have a fail safe where pilots can take over if things get unstable.”

Machine learning technology plays a crucial role, especially when teaching the drones how to identify one cow from another and estimate physical characteristics. Essentially, the team is training the software to recognize each cow's face so physical measurements of an individual cow can be tracked over time, the university said. To do this, 3D models will be constructed using real images of cows.

Michael Sama, associate professor of biosystems and agricultural engineering, and Ruigang Yang, professor of computer science, are leading this component of the project. “Part of this effort is to simply collect the massive amount of imagery necessary to develop custom machine learning technology suitable for individual cow identification,” Sama explained. “We’re trying to understand the best way to acquire images remotely — how to efficiently extract information from those images that provides value to cattle producers.”

Last, the team also needs to ensure that drones hovering near the cattle won’t cause any adverse effects. Trials are already underway at the C. Oran Little Research Center in Versailles, Ky., to test how cows react to the drones.

Gabriel Abdulai, a doctoral student in biosystems and agricultural engineering, is focusing his studies on cattle's response to drones. Three days a week, the team performs test flights. So far, the heart rates remain stable among the herds circled by drones, and the cattle have shown no other signs of stress.

“By studying the physiological and behavioral response of beef cattle to drones, we want to ensure that this great technology is not a stressor," Abdulai said. "This is because stressed cattle often spend less time grazing and are difficult to handle, which can impact daily weight gain and handling operations.”

Although the project is far from being completed, early results are promising. The hope is that someday the technology being developed could be commercialized and used to improve the productivity of small-herd cattle producers.

“This project aims to make transformational progress on the use of autonomous UAVs for monitoring cattle health and, thus, improve the security of a critical food resource and improve the economic outlook for rural beef producers," Hoagg said.

The project is slated to continue through February 2021.

Early exposure to probiotics may aid poultry performance

A balanced commensal gastrointestinal tract microbiota relates to high productivity in poultry, while an undesirable microbiota is linked to local and systemic disorders, Dr. Denise Rodrigues with The Ohio State University noted in a presentation to the International Poultry Science Forum in Atlanta, Ga.

Pointing to prior work conducted with broiler chicks, Rodrigues said manipulation of gut microbiota with early (pre-hatch) exposure to probiotics led to reduced pathogen colonization, advanced immune system development and optimized growth.

Rodrigues discussed two different experimental models to address how early commensal bacteria exposure could affect the modulation of intestinal microbiota in ducklings at the day of hatch, along with study co-authors Jeremiah Cox, Alissa Hilsong, Whitney Briggs, Audrey Duff, Kaylin Chasser, Johel Bielke, Kim Wilson and Lisa Bielke with Ohio State and Chad Risch, Debbie Jeffrey and Dan Shafer with Maple Leaf Farms (abstract T133).

In the first experiment, embryos at 18 embryogenic day were introduced in ovo to either 200 μL of saline (control) or 102 colony-forming units (CFU) per milliliter of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) into the amnion, Rodrigues said.

In the second experiment, treatments included a spray application of 9.0 x 106 CFU/mL of LAB or control (without probiotic) through the top of the hatch cabinets containing eggs from poor-performing duck breeder flocks. The probiotic was applied five times every four hours on day 27 of incubation.

Rodrigues reported that in the first experiment, there was a significant increase (P < 0.05) in Lactobacillaceae and reduction in Enterococcaceae populations in LAB-treated birds.

She noted that in the second experiment, recovery of LAB from ducklings was significantly higher in LAB treatment compared to controls. Similarly, the application of the LAB probiotic in the hatcher cabinets decreased (P < 0.05) the recovery of Gram-negative bacteria from the ducklings.

In both experiments, early exposure to LAB probiotics was able to modify the microbiota composition concerning desirable bacteria growth in day-of-hatch poultry, Rodrigues concluded. Furthermore, LAB application in hatcher cabinets decreased colonization of Gram-negative bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract of newly hatched ducklings, she said, suggesting that these strategies have the potential to minimize undesirable microbial colonization commonly acquired in the hatchery.

NAMI launching Trust in Animal Protein initiative

Eric Mittenthal NAMI IPPE 2020.jpg

The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) is launching a new initiative that focuses on earning trust in animal protein, and Eric Mittenthal, vice president of sustainability at NAMI, believes it will change the organization and the animal protein industry.

“Americans love meat; 95% of Americans eat meat. This has been consistent at least for a couple decades now,” he told attendees at the Environmental Conference for the Meat & Poultry Industry, which is being held this week in conjunction with the 2020 International Production & Processing Expo.

Vegetarians and vegans, on the other hand, have continued to represent a range of only 2-5%, and “that has not changed as far back as I’ve found data,” he said.

Animal protein has a really great story to tell, Mittenthal said, adding, “Americans love our products.”

Further, he pointed out that the industry has also had a lot of great success.

“We supply a very large population here in the U.S. and around the world. We export a tremendous amount of food. We’re a very heavily regulated industry and produce incredibly safe products every day, and we are also creating a very wide variety of products. It’s reflected in what you see in stores and in restaurants in the number of choices that are available,” Mittenthal said.

Despite the success, the industry still has numerous challenges, specifically regarding the perception of its environmental impact.

“The general public perception is not positive towards our industry and its impact these days. That’s reflected in some of the data that we see," he said. "Generally, when you look at consumer trust in meat and poultry products, we’re towards the bottom of the overall food and grocery category.”

As an organization and industry, this needs to be addressed.

Last year, NAMI’s board of directors passed a new vision, mission and set of values for the organization and the industry moving forward over the next decade.

Mittenthal said keywords emerged that focused on sustainability, nourishing local and global communities with meat and poultry and connecting people in strength and trust in the food the industry produces.

Still, the way trust is earned today is different from the way it has long been done in the past, he said.

“Historically, when there has been an issue, the industry has found the right science and found the experts and put them out there, and that’s how you address it. That doesn’t actually work anymore. That is not the way to improve trust in anything,” Mittenthal said.

Research has revealed that you have to show shared values, he added, explaining that it has a much greater impact on consumer attitudes and goes toward building trust.

In the past, consumers have made purchases based on how products would be better for them, but Mittenthal said, “More and more, I think we’re seeing that change quite a bit, where they’re not only thinking about what’s in it for me; they’re also thinking about what’s in it for the world at large. They’re combining those to inform their purchasing habits.”

Consumers’ outlook on sustainability has also changed, according to Mittenthal. They used to believe they could take action as individuals, but today they are looking to industries, companies and government to make changes, he explained.

Still, most people can’t identify what a sustainable product is and don’t know which companies are sustainable, he added.

“The meat industry has a real opportunity to position ourselves as providing a sustainable product for the world, but we have to go about it the right way,” Mittenthal said.

As such, NAMI set a goal to earn trust through a commitment to continuous improvement, thinking about how improvements can be made over time to demonstrate shared values.

For NAMI, that meant changing its focus, Mittenthal said.

“We’ve forever been focused on our members and how can we benefit our members, but I think we have to take a little bit more of a consumer focus, and our board has backed this up to be more focused on consumer values and consumer expectations with leadership from our membership,” he said.

This means the organization moves from a communications stance of constantly being on the defensive and constantly deflecting criticism to more of an embrace and evolve perspective, he said -- in other words, trying to be more proactive in doing business and communicating.

“We’ve been very focused on the telling our story part for a long time, and I think we all need to do the right thing. We need to prove it," he said. "That’s where the new Trust in Animal Protein initiative really comes in and takes shape.”

NAMI formed a task force of its members last year to think about what the initiative would comprise.

“This is not a one-year initiative; this is a 10-year, at least, initiative that we are working toward,” Mittenthal said.

The task force developed a framework with five key pillars: food safety, environment and the planet, animal care, health and wellness, labor and human rights.

Mittenthal said ambitious goals were developed under each of those pillars to aid in transparency:

  • Food safety -- The meat and poultry supply chain produces meat and poultry products without exception.
  • Animal care -- Design and universally adhere to a globally accepted and outcome-based standard for animal welfare at all points in the supply chain.
  • Health and wellness -- Uphold animal protein as consumers’ preferred choice for nutrition, health and wellness.
  • Labor and human rights -- Be the employer of choice through an unyielding commitment to diversity, inclusion, employee occupational health and safety and human rights.
  • Environmental impact -- Lead the global animal protein industry to achieve the best environmental outcomes of meat production on land, air and water in the world.

Mittenthal said the last has been the “biggest struggle” for the industry but also suggested that the industry has achieved it. As such, he said the industry really needs to think about how it can be bolder in that pillar.

Still, he said implementing all of the goals is the hardest part, and announcing the initiative and engaging with the industry at the International Production & Processing Expo is the first step, he said.

“Your voice as part of this process is really important, because none of this can be achieved without our member participation,” he said.

Mittenthal said each pillar has a committee to establish metrics and targets and finalize goals, which will hopefully be done by the end of 2020. From there, data collected over time will show how the industry is progressing, using the improvements in order to tell the story.

This initiative will also be in partnership with other organizations that have already developed frameworks, Mittenthal said.

“Sustainability within the industry is not a new concept. This is something other groups have been working on, in some cases for a decade. Other groups are more newly formed,” he noted.

“We’re not looking to reinvent anything that’s already been done; we’re looking to be collaborative and consistent with the work that has already been done and look for opportunities where we can move it forward and push as an organization that brings everybody under one umbrella,” he continued.

For example, he said the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef has been in existence for many years, and NAMI is building off of this as part of its new program. Other industry initiatives include the U.S. pork industry’s We Care program and the newer U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry & Eggs. Outside groups such as the World Wildlife Fund will also be involved as well as third-party validators, some of which “might be a little surprising.”

“There is a lot of work to be done there, but we’re collaborating with as many groups and trying to work in conjunction with as many groups as possible,” Mittenthal said.

Membership involvement as well as implementation will be key to moving the initiative forward, Mittenthal said.

D&D starts up Ohio premix plant

D&D Ingredient Distributors Inc. D&D New Premix Facility in Delphos, Ohio
D&D started full-scale operation of its new premix facility in Delphos, Ohio, that can blend private-label products precisely and uniformly — from single batch quantities to large-scale production runs.

D&D Ingredient Distributors Inc. announced the full-scale operation of its new premix plant at the company headquarters in Delphos, Ohio. The high-tech, state-of-the-art facility features automated micro ingredient proportioning, blending and precision mixing technology to serve D&D's expanding range of customers. D&D already supplies premixes and blends going into products sold throughout the U.S. and nearly 30 other countries.

"Demand is growing for the reliable supply of precision formulated and manufactured custom premixes,"D&D president and chief executive officer Arnie Miller said. "We're helping our partners in the feed and pet food industries to streamline their supply chains."

D&D chief operating officer Ted Williams added, "We specialize in the micro ingredients they need. By taking advantage of our ingredient knowledge, formulation expertise, and premixing technology, our customers can better optimize their manufacturing operations. We're helping them concentrate even more on what they do best."

D&D's new premix facility consists of highly specialized equipment, including a precision-automated micro-proportioning system and a four-ton, twin-shaft, horizontal ribbon-paddle mixer. The system combines precise amounts of vitamins, minerals and other micro ingredients in homogenous premixes that blend uniformly in manufactured feed or pet food products, the announcement said.

Products manufactured by D&D customers support the health, growth and active life of dairy animals, beef cattle, pigs, poultry, horses, dogs, cats and many other species.

"Our vision is to be the partner of choice for outsource manufacturing services for the feed and pet food industries," Mike Wright, D&D director of operations and business development, said. "That means we must hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards of product quality and service, which requires continuous improvement through education and training programs — for both our own employees as well as for participating industry partners.”

Founded in 1976 by Doc and Dorothy Miller, D&D continues to grow as an independent, family-owned business serving the feed and pet food industries from its home in Delphos. The company manufactures a wide range of vitamin, mineral and vitamin/mineral premixes, nutritional health products and specialty blends. In addition to premixing and blending, D&D's capabilities include custom formulation, custom grinding, co-packing, warehousing, trans-loading and distribution.

Source: D&D Ingredient Distributors, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

Dietary guidelines meetings focus on updating standards

Dietary guidelines meetings focus on updating standards

A committee of top health, medical and nutrition experts gathered Jan. 23-24 in Houston, Texas, to develop the scientific basis for the 2020-25 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), which establishes nutrition recommendations for everything ranging from prisons to hospitals to a doctor's advice.

This is the fourth of five public meetings the committee is holding to discuss progress in its reviews of the science, and it was the second and final opportunity for stakeholders -- from concerned citizens to health care providers to industry representatives -- to deliver in-person comments to the committee. 

Cary Frye, senior vice president for regulatory affairs with the International Dairy Foods Assn. in Washington, D.C., gave oral testimony on the important role dairy can play in a healthy diet.

Frye said the committee as well as American consumers have been disappointingly subjected to misleading claims about dairy products. “These false claims have confused and scared the public for years using weak studies based on questionable scientific methods and preyed on the media’s preference for controversy,” she said.

Since the last DGA update, three things have occurred that should cement dairy’s place within the guidelines. “First, a panel of health experts from organizations including the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Assn. recommended children under five consume just two beverages: cow’s milk and water. Second, dietary advice in other countries have recommended full-fat dairy products as part of dietary patterns. Third, several meta-analyses indicate there is no negative effect on heart health from consuming dairy, no matter whether those dairy products were full fat or low fat,” she testified.

Frye suggested that dairy should continue to be a separate food group in the 2020-25 DGA and said the guidelines must preserve the recommended three servings of dairy per day in dietary patterns to ensure that Americans meet their recommended intakes of essential nutrients. Also, the committee should embrace the evidence showing that dairy foods at all fat levels are part of a nutritious diet, she added.

Dr. Molly McAdams, a Texas beef rancher who testified on behalf of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. (NCBA), noted that more than 20 gold standard studies have shown that beef contributes favorably to heart health and other positive health outcomes. She stated that “today, the amount of beef we eat is consistent with what science shows to support healthy diets ... and is within current DGA recommendations. We don’t need to cut back on beef intake to eat a healthier diet; rather, we should eat more nutrient-rich foods and less empty calories.

“Research now shows that plant-based diets aren’t a silver bullet, either. In addition, many Americans benefit from a low-carb and higher-protein diet with meat. DGA should encourage this choice,” McAdams added.

Nina Teicholz, executive director of the not-for-profit Nutrition Coalition, claims that, according to a report by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine, the U.S. Department of Agriculture does not adhere to a state-of-the art scientific methodology in developing its guidelines. After the 2015 dietary guidelines came out, she advocated for the guidelines to be reliable and based on the best and most current science.

“There are a lot of agendas at work here, and with the players in this field, it’s hard to make good science rise to the top,” Teicholz said, adding that financial conflicts of interest are pervasive among the expert committee disclosures, which USDA refuses to publicly disclose. For instance, a very powerful animal rights movement has promoted a vegetarian diet that has nothing to do with health but, rather, animal rights.

She said the Nutrition Coalition’s goal is to try to get USDA to base its nutritional guidance on a more rigorous scientific process and to increase transparency. She also said it is important to establish a range of options within the dietary guidelines. “The guidelines offer a one-size-fits all approach, which is so disheartening, because it is clearly not working,” Teicholz said.

Since 1970, Americans have followed the U.S. dietary guidelines, which includes a 28% drop in consumption of red meat and a 79% drop in consumption of whole milk. The availability of fresh vegetables is up 20% and fresh fruits up 35%. Plant-based food intake has risen 35% from 1970 to 2014, while animal-based food consumption is down 6%, according to data from USDA's Economic Research Service.

Danielle Beck, NCBA director of government affairs, said the National Academy of Sciences report found that bias is hard to prevent in establishing the dietary guidelines, but USDA and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services are working to prevent as much bias as feasible.

As long as the DGA committee "sticks to the science, science will speak for itself,” Beck stated, adding that NCBA has been very comfortable with working with the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.