For The Week Ending May 18, 2012
NPPC COUNTERS PEW MISINFORMATION ON ANTIBIOTICS USE IN LIVESTOCK
NPPC Tuesday ran a full-page ad in Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, laying out the real facts about antibiotic use in livestock production. The ad, which included points from Dr. H. Scott Hurd, associate professor at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and former U.S. Department of Agriculture deputy undersecretary for food safety, was in response to a Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming Washington lobbying and media event on antibiotic resistance and the unnecessary feeding and overuse of antibiotics in livestock. Click here to view the ad.
COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT ENTERS FORCE
The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) entered into force May 15. The United States is projected to see a significant increase in pork exports to Colombia. When fully implemented, Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes calculates that the U.S.-Colombia FTA will generate an additional $68.9 million in U.S. pork exports, raise live U.S. hog prices by $1.15 and create 919 new jobs from increased pork exports alone.
NPPC PARTICIPATES IN TPP NEGOTIATIONS
NPPC Vice President and Counsel for International Affairs Nick Giordano this week attended in Dallas the 12th round of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, a regional trade pact that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. NPPC met with officials from a number of the countries. The TPP negotiations represent the best opportunity for the U.S. pork industry to remove sanitary-phytosanitary (SPS) barriers to trade and eliminate import duties in the countries involved in the negotiations. The TPP countries represent a population of more than 195 million people, and in 2011 the United States exported $294 million in pork and pork products to these countries. NPPC is asking the Obama administration to urge TPP countries to remove tariffs on pork and SPS barriers to trade as well as to accept U.S. plant inspections as equivalent to the inspection systems in each TPP nation.
CODEX MEETING CONSIDERS RESIDUE LIMITS FOR VETERINARY DRUGS
NPPC staff last week participated with the U.S. delegation to the Codex Committee on Veterinary Drugs in Foods (CCVDF). The CCVDF develops standards and guidelines for maximum residue levels (MRLs) for veterinary drugs as part of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a U.N. intergovernmental body tasked with developing and coordinating international food standards and codes of practice. The committee debated MRLs in veterinary drugs, determined whether to move forward with a European Union proposal to develop new work on a “negative list” of veterinary drugs and discussed other veterinary drug issues that affect food safety and trade harmonization standards. The Codex Commission will meet July 2-7 for its 35th session and is expected to revisit, for the fifth time, the decision to approve a standard-setting MRL for ractopamine. The FDA-approved product is a feed ingredient that has been approved by 25 other national regulatory authorities for use in swine as a method of producing leaner meat in a more efficient manner. The European Union, however, has expressed strong opposition to the approval of the recommended MRLs for ractopamine. European opposition is not founded on sound science and is outside the scope of the Codex. A Codex panel of international scientists has confirmed the safety of ractopamine multiple times. The non-scientific opposition to ractopamine has devolved the discussion into a political matter with potential risk to international trade and food security.
FARM BILL HEARINGS CONTINUE IN HOUSE AGRICULTURE SUBCOMMITTEE
The House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Wednesday and Thursday held a third series of hearings on agricultural policy prior to writing the 2012 Farm Bill. The witness panels, comprised of economists and leaders from multiple commodity and agriculture groups from across the country, provided insight on the feasibility of current programs and how improvements can be made while emphasizing the necessity for a fair and effective safety net and a robust crop insurance program. To read testimony for Wednesday’s hearing, click here; to read testimony for Thursday’s hearing, click here.
USFRA TO HOST ANTIBIOTICS WEB CHAT
The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), to which NPPC belongs, May 29 will host a Web chat on antibiotic use in food animals. Streamed live from 11 a.m. to noon Eastern time, the Web chat will include two third-party experts who will share their expertise on and address common misperceptions and answer questions about antibiotic use in livestock and poultry production. For more information about USFRA, click here.