Meat industry calls on USDA to allow comments on GIPSA proposals

Meat industry calls on USDA to allow comments on GIPSA proposals

This week’s Legislative Preview calls for USDA to allow GIPSA comments; announces mandatory price reporting stakeholder meeting; U.S. beef imports to China to resume; consumer groups petition to stop antibiotics for prevention.

The meat and poultry industries are urging USDA to allow for public comments on any USDA proposals if Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration proceeds with any portions of the controversial livestock marketing rule originally proposed in 2010.

In a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, the North America Meat Institute, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, National Chicken Council, and National Turkey Federation say, “Although GIPSA provided an opportunity for affected stakeholders to comment on the proposed rule, more than six years have passed since its publication. If the agency relies only on the administrative record as it existed when the comment period closed in November 2010, it is affirmatively choosing to ignore the many changes in and evolution of the livestock, meat and poultry industry during the past six years and would publish a rule on a record that can only be described as stale and not developed in a ‘timely’ fashion.”

The group also asked the USDA chief economist be a part of the process saying the chief economist’s analysis is critical if GIPSA proceeds with a proposed rule. Earlier this year, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, asked for a public comment period on any GIPSA proposal concerning livestock marketing.

Mandatory price reporting stakeholder meeting
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is required to conduct a study regarding the marketing of livestock and meat products covered by the Livestock Mandatory Report Act. AMS will hold a stakeholder meeting to discuss marketing methods and challenges involved in reporting livestock and meat markets, and industry needs concerning any revisions. The meeting is to use industry positions and perspectives to develop a consensus report that will be sent to Congress by March 1, 2018, prior to the reauthorization of LMR in 2020. The first meeting will be for livestock and meat industry associations, producers, meat processors and other market participants, and will be held Nov. 15-16 in the Washington, D.C. area.

China lifts ban on U.S. beef
China announced it was lifting its 13-year ban on imports of U.S. beef. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says, “This announcement is a critical first step to restore market access for U.S. beef and beef products. We look forward to prompt engagement by the relevant authorities for further technical discussions on the specific conditions that will allow trade to resume. True access to China’s beef market — consistent with science-based, international standards for trade — remains a top priority for the United States.”

USDA will need to negotiate an import protocol with China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine before U.S. beef shipments can resume. The ban on U.S. beef was put in place in 2003, following the discovery of the first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the United States.

Groups petition FDA to stop antibiotics for prevention
A group of consumers and environmentalists have petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to impose additional restrictions on antibiotics for food-producing animals. The petition requests the FDA to withdraw approval of the use of medically important antibiotics, including macrolides, penicillins and tetracyclines in livestock and poultry for disease prevention besides growth promotion. Those filing the petition are Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Earthjustice, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Public Citizen, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, and California Public Interest Research Group. 

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