For the Week Ending Oct. 28, 2011
Contact: Dave Warner 202-347-3600
Washington, October 28, 2011 -
U.S. OFFICIALS TRAVEL TO CHINA TO DISCUSS SPS ISSUES
Officials with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently met with Chinese officials to discuss a USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service risk assessment on Chinese cooked poultry. NPPC and other meat groups sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack earlier this month to ask him to give high priority to completing the review on Chinese poultry. Resolution of this issue and other sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues, including a ban on the feed additive ractopamine, is crucial to future market access for U.S. pork products. China is a potentially enormous market, and China is currently importing record levels of U.S. pork. In September, China imported nearly 87,000 metric tons of U.S. pork products. While China is currently 98 percent self-sufficient in pork production, even a small increase in U.S. exports would greatly benefit producers. If China decides to import just an additional 1 percent of its total pork consumption, it could mean an additional 500,000 metric tons of U.S. pork exports, valued at $1 billion, and the creation of 13,000 direct pork industry jobs, according to analysis by Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes.
FARM DUST REGULATION HEARING
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power Tuesday held a hearing on H.R.1633, the “Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011.” Despite the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicating that it does not intend to regulate naturally-occurring rural dust, Reps. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., and Robert Hurt, R-Va., testified in favor of the act, which would ban the EPA from “proposing, finalizing, implementing, or enforcing any regulation revising the national primary ambient air quality standard or the national secondary ambient air quality standard applicable to particulate matter … under the Clean Air Act (CAA) for one year.” The legislation would also exempt farm dust that is regulated at the state or local level from federal regulations. More than 100 lawmakers have signed onto the bipartisan bill. Reps. Larry Kissell, D-N.C., and Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa, joined Reps. Noem and Hurt in introducing the bill April 15. More than 100 agricultural organizations also support the bill. To read the transcripts or view the hearing, click here.
EXCESSIVE SPECULATION AND COMPLIANCE WITH THE DODD-FRANK ACT
The Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will hold a hearing on “Excessive Speculation and Compliance with the Dodd-Frank Act” on Thursday, Nov. 3. Originally scheduled for Oct. 6, the hearing was postponed because of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission announcement that it was to be voting on a final rule on Oct. 18. To watch the hearing live, click here.
NPPC TO ATTEND AG SECRETARY’S ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON ANIMAL HEALTH MEETING
NPPC Chief Veterinarian Liz Wagstrom will attend the USDA “Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health” meeting Nov. 1-2 in Washington, D.C. The meeting is being hosted by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to discuss matters of animal health, including issues pertinent to the U.S. pork industry.
SUPREME COURT TO HEAR DOWNER HOG CASE
The U.S. Supreme Court Nov. 9 will hear arguments in a case involving a California law that bans non-ambulatory livestock, including hogs, from entering the food supply. The high court has been asked by the National Meat Association to rule that the Federal Meat Inspection Act pre-empts the state statute. The California Legislature approved the law in 2008 after a video was released by the Humane Society of the United States, showing non-ambulatory, or “downed,” cows at a California beef packing plant being dragged and prodded to enter the processing line. [As part of its efforts to address “mad cow” disease, the U.S. Department of Agriculture already forbids the slaughter of “downed” cattle.] A federal district court judge blocked the law, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco last year overturned the lower court ruling. NPPC and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Supreme Court in the case. NPPC has pointed out that, after transport from the farm to the packing plant, hogs can become non-ambulatory from fatigue. With rest, the overwhelming majority of them will walk, and processing them poses no food-safety or public-health risk.