For The Week Ending Feb. 1, 2013
IMMIGRATION REFORM INTRODUCED IN SENATE
A bipartisan group of senators Monday introduced an immigration proposal that gives special treatment to farm workers, citing the need for sufficient domestic food supply. President Obama Tuesday endorsed the proposal. NPPC supports comprehensive immigration reform that secures national borders fairly and justly, provides a pathway to citizenship for the millions of immigrants already in the United States, creates new temporary work visas, requires employees to check the legal status of all employees against a strengthened E-verify database and gives employers access to a legal work force without placing undue burdens on businesses. NPPC will continue to work with Congress to make sure the U.S. pork industry has access to a viable workforce.
SINGAPORE REMOVES BAN ON PATHOGEN REDUCTION TREATMENTS
Singapore updated its import requirements for pork this week to permit certain pathogen reduction treatments (PRTs) used by the U.S. pork industry. Currently, the U.S. pork industry employs a number of post mortem pathogen reduction treatments as an effective way of reducing the prevalence of foodborne pathogens in pork. NPPC has been pushing for the removal of Singapore’s ban on PRTs as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. The TPP is an Asia-Pacific regional trade pact and represents the best opportunity for the U.S. pork industry to remove sanitary-phytosanitary (SPS) barriers to trade and to eliminate import duties in the countries involved in the negotiations. Singapore has potential for growth as an export destination for U.S. pork products. However, U.S. exports are still limited because of non-science-based trichinae mitigation requirements and overly restrictive production-date and shelf-life restrictions on processed, fresh and chilled U.S. pork products.
NPPC PARTICIPATES IN PANEL ON SETTING INTERNATIONAL FOOD-SAFETY STANDARDS
Laurie Hueneke, NPPC Director of International Trade Policy, Sanitary and Technical Issues, this week at the International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Ga., participated in a panel on the role of the Codex Alimentarius in establishing international food safety standards. The Codex Alimentarius Commission, established by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization and its World Health Organization to promote food safety and coordinate international food standards, last summer, for example, adopted an international standard for ractopamine, a feed ingredient used to promote leanness in pork and beef. NPPC strongly supported the action by Codex, which is the World Trade Organization’s reference body for food safety, noting that the U.N. body upheld its mandate to adhere to process and adopt science-based standards. The adoption of the ractopamine standard had been stalled for four years because of unscientific concerns by several countries. Ractopamine was evaluated and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1999 and has been approved for use in 26 countries. A Codex panel of independent international scientists has confirmed the safety of ractopamine three times. NPPC views the adoption of maximum residue levels for ractopamine as a path forward to engage with trading partners that have food-safety concerns related to science, and the organization is actively involved in developing new standards based on science and consensus. Many countries adopt Codex standards as national standards, increasing the influence that Codex standards play in how U.S. pork producers raise their animals and ensure a safe supply of pork to more than 100 countries every year. The IPPE brought together processors, packers and producers to discuss issues of interest for the meat and poultry industries.
NPPC MEETS WITH OFFICIALS IN MEXICO
In Mexico a new administration under President Enrique Peña Nieto assumed office in December. NPPC Vice President and Counsel for International Affairs Nick Giordano traveled to Mexico this week to meet a number of new government officials and to discuss issues of mutual interest to the U.S.-Mexico bilateral trade relationship. Meetings with private-sector representatives were also held. Mexico is the largest export market for U.S. pork by volume and second largest by value. From January to November 2012, U.S. pork exports to Mexico totaled 550,409 metric tons valued at more than $1 billion, an increase of 15 percent by volume over the same time period in 2011. Maintaining access to the Mexican market is a top priority for the U.S. pork industry as exports add approximately $14 to the price of each hog.
2013 PORK FORUM SET FOR MARCH 7-9
The 2013 National Pork Industry Forum will be held March 7-9 at The Peabody Orlando Hotel in Orlando, Fla. For more information on media registration, click here.