Four key board members from poultry associations in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region visited the U.S. June 22 to 29. The delegation met with major U.S. poultry producers’ associations to learn best practices and how similar associations function. UEP’s SVP of Food Safety Regulatory Affairs Oscar Garrison hosted the group on June 26 along with Dr. Deanna Jones and Jeff Hendricks from USDA.
The delegation included: Dr. Tharwat Elzeiny, vice chairman of the Egyptian Poultry Association; Dr. Sayed Shalash, consultant, Egyptian Poultry Association; Fathi Ghraieb, president of the Tunisian National Poultry Producers’ (GIPAC) (poultry farmers’ group) board of directors and president of the Ghraieb Poultry Integrated Group; and Alaoui Mohammed Youssef, president of Federation of Poultry Associations (FISA) from Morocco. Dr. Miguel Escobar, from USSEC accompanied the group.
Inspire PR Group, led by UEP’s PR Consultant Hinda Mitchell, is celebrating its 5th Anniversary. With more than 50 years of combined experience in the food and agriculture industry, the Inspire team proudly supports its clients across the agriculture sector, including UEP, and has developed unparalleled agriculture expertise. Inspire excels in building consumer trust and confidence by telling the story of where food comes from and who produces it in a compelling, honest and relevant way.
“Hinda and her team support UEP and the egg industry, providing not only outstanding PR crisis and media relations expertise, but also supporting social and digital marketing, video production training and more. In addition, Hinda is a trusted friend and advisor,” said UEP President Chad Gregory.
Egg Farmers of Canada have launched the Egg Quality Assurance (EQA) program. Similar to UEP Certified, table egg cartons and egg product packaging that is certified to the standards can be marked with the EQA logo.
Launched in February 2019, the EQA program markets the combined components of two existing Egg Farmers of Canada programs, the food safety (Start Clean-Stay Clean) and its recently revamped animal care program. All registered Canadian egg farmers must follow the two programs and are eligible to utilize the newly developed logo, though it is not mandatory. The EQA logo does not differentiate between housing types, egg color, etc., but does differentiate eggs produced in Canada versus other countries, including eggs produced in the U.S.
If the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) meets its internal goals, a final regulation to convert egg products regulation to HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) principles could be published next month. The federal government’s Unified Regulatory Agenda identifies August as the month to publish a final rule to modify egg product inspection regulations. The proposed rule was published February 13, 2018, and FSIS received comments from the Further Processors Division of United Egg Association as well as from other groups and companies. FSIS first stated its intention to move toward a HACCP regulation for egg products some 20 years ago.
The expert panel that is preparing the next Dietary Guidelines for Americans holds its second meeting this week and will hear from a wide range of organizations, companies and individuals during a public comment session.
Dr. Mickey Rubin of the Egg Nutrition Center will provide science-based testimony on behalf of the egg industry. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has identified cognitive health as a major topic in the 2020 DGA, and eggs are an excellent source of choline, a nutrient that has important neurocognitive benefits throughout the lifespan. Most Americans fail to consume enough choline, and eggs are among the most concentrated sources in the food supply.
On October 30, 2009, U.S. EPA issued a final rule “to require reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from all sectors of the economy,” but only if a source of such emissions is above certain threshold amounts. Most U.S. industry and business sectors with emissions over the 25,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent in emissions have been reporting to U.S. EPA ever since.
UEP and the other livestock and poultry sectors filed comments on the proposed rule arguing that as a policy matter, there would be no public value to requiring individual producers to report these GHG emissions.
Despite these arguments, the final rule’s mandatory reporting requirements were applied to all U.S. livestock and poultry operations. However, no egg producer or any other animal agricultural operation has had to report because Congress since 2010, has included a provision in the final EPA appropriations’ bill telling the agency that no reporting from animal producers can be required.
Until earlier this year, that is, when the House of Representatives struck all environmental “policy riders” from their fiscal year 2020 appropriations bill now moving through Congress, including the GHG reporting provision. Focus is now turning to the Senate, which is expected to include the measure in its version of the EPA funding bill. How this will all play out as the House, Senate, and the Administration work out the appropriations and debt ceiling disagreements remains to be seen.
Nothing is certain about the GHG reporting measure at this point, but the outlook is positive. UEP is in conversations with others in animal agriculture working with Congress on this issue.
Should egg producers be concerned about reporting GHG emissions to the federal government next year if the appropriations bill does not include this measure excluding animal agriculture? The short answer, fortunately, is probably going to be no because laying hen production systems produce minimal GHG emissions.
U.S. EPA estimates that it takes, at one location, more than 723,000 layers using an uncovered anaerobic lagoon or more than 27 million layers with a dry manure system to emit more than 25,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent in gases which is the reporting threshold.
UEP staff will keep members informed as Congress works through the appropriations process. In the meantime, please contact Tom Hebert (email@example.com) if you have any questions.
Animal Ag Protection Law Challenged
Environmental and social activist groups filed a lawsuit against North Carolina’s new nuisance laws. After North Carolina’s swine industry began losing multi-million-dollar lawsuits, the state legislature updated their nuisance laws to provide additional protection. The legislation was vetoed by Governor Roy Cooper, but lawmakers were able to override the vetoes. Read more in “After Smithfield lost millions in lawsuits, NC changed a law. Was it constitutional?” from The News & Observer.
Following successful challenges to Idaho’s, Utah’s, and Wyoming’s animal ag protection laws, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and other animal rights organizations have filed a lawsuit challenging Arkansas’ law. See“Lawsuit calls Arkansas “ag-gag” law unconstitutional,” from AP News.
Applegate to include GAP (Global Animal Partnership) logo on select products
Applegate, a division of Hormel Foods, will begin using the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) seal on beef, chicken, and turkey hotdogs. Applegate has long marketed its products emphasizing animal welfare, utilizing the American Humane and Certified Humane seals.
Applegate’s use of the GAP seal provides a boost to this certification program which has long struggled to find a foothold outside of Whole Foods. The GAP program includes standards for a variety of production animals, including laying hens.
UEP President Chad Gregory, SVP Oscar Garrison, and Consultant Randy Green met with Joe Levitt and Brian Eyink of Hogan Lovell on July 9 in WashingtonD.C. to strategize on egg safety education for the industry. In 2018, whole genome sequencing (WGS) technology was utilized by CDC and FDA in the egg outbreak associated with Salmonella Braenderup. CDC utilized the WGS technology to link 45 illnesses that occurred over six months in 10 different states. Prior to this outbreak, the egg industry had not been exposed to the use of WGS in outbreak trackbacks. There is a critical need for education on how this technology is being utilized. WGS provides a way to link smaller outbreaks back to food producers that previously would not have been identified and will lead to the discovery of additional outbreaks and recalls.
L to R: Brian Eyink, Joe Levitt, Oscar Garrison, Randy Green, Chad Gregory
The meeting was a follow-up to an address given by Levitt and Eyink at the UEP Legislative meeting in May. There will be a session on WGS during the UEP Area Briefings in August with additional information and educational opportunities coming soon to UEP members.
Click here to register for the Area Briefings.