FDA Approves GE Salmon

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 4.29.31 PMU.S. Food and Drug Administration has taken several steps based on sound science and a comprehensive review regarding food from genetically engineered (GE) plants and animals, including the first approval for a genetically engineered animal intended for food, AquAdvantage Salmon. The agency is also issuing a guidances for manufacturers who wish to voluntarily label their products as containing ingredients from GE or non-GE sources.

The FDA has approved AquaBounty Technologies’ application for AquAdvantage Salmon, an Atlantic salmon that reaches market size more quickly than non-GE farm-raised Atlantic salmon. The FDA regulates GE animals under the new animal drug provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, because the recombinant DNA (rDNA) construct introduced into the animal meets the definition of a drug. In this case, the rDNA construct introduces a trait that makes the AquAdvantage Salmon grow faster.

“The FDA has thoroughly analyzed and evaluated the data and information submitted by AquaBounty Technologies regarding AquAdvantage Salmon and determined that they have met the regulatory requirements for approval, including that food from the fish is safe to eat,” said Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.

Based on a comprehensive analysis of the scientific evidence, the FDA determined that AquAdvantage Salmon meets the statutory requirements for safety and effectiveness under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Among the requirements the sponsor had to meet are that food from the fish is safe to eat; the rDNA construct (the piece of DNA that makes the salmon grow faster) is safe for the fish itself; and the AquAdvantage Salmon meets the sponsor’s claim about faster growth. In addition, the FDA determined that food from AquAdvantage Salmon is as safe to eat and as nutritious as food from other non-GE Atlantic salmon and that there are no biologically relevant differences in the nutritional profile of AquAdvantage Salmon compared to that of other farm-raised Atlantic salmon.

You can find more information on the FDA’s announcement here.

Ag Group, Aquaculture, Fish, Food

Pork Checkoff Debuts Antibiotic Infographic

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

PorkInfographic The National Pork Board has debuted a new infographic depicting how antibiotics are used responsibly in the U.S. swine industry, how pig farmers work with their veterinarians to practice good antibiotic stewardship, and how responsible antibiotic usage is necessary to help keep people, pigs and the planet healthy.

“As pig farmers, we work closely with veterinarians to make sure we’re using antibiotics only when necessary for the health and well-being of our animals,” said Derrick Sleezer, president of the National Pork Board and a pig farmer from Cherokee, Iowa. “We’re also committed to protecting human health, and we understand the importance of using tools such as antibiotics responsibly to ensure food safety.”

The infographic is one of several concerted efforts made by The National Pork Board in 2015 to address antibiotic-related issues. While the board’s plan of action puts a great focus on research and implementing programs that certify safe antibiotic practices are occurring on swine operations, pig farmers are also interested in increasing communication with the public about this issue with the goal of demystifying antibiotic use.

“The role antibiotics play in pig farming is often misunderstood,” said Chris Hodges, National Pork Board chief executive officer. “That’s why we work closely with various groups in the food chain and why we’re reaching out to consumers with information about how antibiotics are used on the farm. It’s all part of our responsibility to build consumer trust in pork production.”

Individuals interested in viewing or sharing the entire infographic can find it here.

Ag Group, Animal Health, Antibiotics, Pork, Pork Checkoff, Swine

USDA Reports Lower Turkey Costs for Thanksgiving

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

national turkey federationThe National Turkey Federation reports the USDA’s latest weekly survey of advertised retail prices for the consumers’ choice of frozen turkey hens dropped 18 cents per pound from the previous week and remained just a penny cheaper per pound than last year in the week before Thanksgiving.

The official USDA report is the most current authoritative assessment of retail turkey prices, surveying 20,591 retail supermarket outlets through November 19.

The USDA National Retail Report on Turkey shows the average price of frozen turkey hens in its survey of grocery stores down from last week’s $1.08 per pound to now 90 cents per pound, which is also just one cent less per pound than last year. The National Turkey Federation also noted that shoppers can also find lower prices at nearly 49 cents per pound in many supermarkets offering discounts for frozen turkey as part of their annual promotions to attract Thanksgiving shoppers.

“Promotional discounts for frozen turkey hens are an excellent buy for shoppers, in addition to regular advertised prices,” said Joel Brandenberger, National Turkey Federation president.

Losses among the turkey population from avian influenza were held to 3 percent and disproportionately centered on a few states in the upper Midwest, while other regions of the widely dispersed growing states continued to produce turkeys. The avian flu struck growers in late April, with the last case over in June. USDA projects 228 million turkeys will be produced by year’s end. National Turkey Federation estimates Americans eat 46 million turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner, most being of the flash-frozen quality, produced and contracted for grocers beginning in March, before the onset of avian influenza. Meanwhile, turkey farmers in the upper Midwest have returned to clean barns with fresh poults to grow into each new flock of turkeys.

Ag Group, Food, Poultry, Turkey

CattleFax Webinar on 2016 Calf Market Expectations

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

cattlefaxAn upcoming free CattleFax webinar will address a 2016 outlook for the cow-calf segment and entire beef sector, while exploring continued cowherd expansion. They say cow-calf margins will shrink as the U.S. beef cowherd expands, but producers can ensure future profitability by adjusting business plans for the supply increase.

The CattleFax Trends+ Cow-Calf Webinar will be at 5:30 p.m. MT, Jan. 20, 2016. To participate in the webinar and access program details, producers and industry leaders simply need to register online at www.cattlefax.com/meetings.aspx

One of the most aggressive U.S. beef cowherd expansions in the last four decades will increase beef supplies and pressure cow-calf profitability over the next several years. As profits narrow during that time, well-informed producers can maintain healthy margins by adjusting production, marketing and risk management plans with increasing supplies in mind.

CattleFax analysts will discuss a variety of topics in the one-hour session, including:
– Cattle and feedstuff market projections for the next 12 to 18 months
– Supply and margin expectations based on U.S. beef cowherd expansion estimates
– Expected returns of beef cows over their productive life and potential opportunities.

The Trends+ webinar series informs cattle producers about current market conditions and provides providing decision-friendly advice regarding management decisions. The analysis and strategies shared through the webinar series has reached more than 2,500 producers, and sponsorship from Elanco Animal Health is making the seminar free for all attendees.

Agribusiness, Cattle, Markets

Updated FARM Residue Prevention Manual Released

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

nmpf-logo The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has updated and released the latest version of the Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Manual just in time for the beginning of the Center for Disease Control’s annual Get Smart About Antibiotics Week. The manual is one of the key components of the National Dairy FARM Program, and can be accessed for free here.

The manual offers a concise review of appropriate antibiotic use in dairy animals, and acts as a valuable educational tool for farm managers working to develop the best management practices necessary to avoid milk and meat residues.

“We know that there is increased attention to the use of medicines in livestock, and in order to maintain the ability to use those products to treat sick animals, we have to demonstrate that we are using them judiciously,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF. “This newly-revised manual represents the ongoing commitment dairy farmers have to using antibiotics responsibly and prudently.”

Additions to the 2016 version focus on antimicrobial stewardship: A new section on avoiding potential residue violations from extra-label drug use in an unapproved class of cattle, cephalosporin extra-label use prohibitions, and an updated drug and test kit list have all been added to the 2016 manual, along with a new certificate of participation that can be signed by a producer and his/her veterinarian to demonstrate their commitment to the proper use of antibiotics.

Biosecurity, Dairy, food safety, Milk, National Milk, Pharmaceutical

New Online Quiz Tests Antibiotic Knowledge

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

AccountableScience As part of World Antibiotic Awareness Week, The Center for Accountability in Science has developed a new quiz to help educate consumers about antibiotic use in people and animals. The quiz was created following a survey by the World Health Organization (WHO); the results of the survey show that most individuals know very little about antibiotics and how they should be used. The quiz is available to the public, and interested individuals can take it here.

The quiz highlights on the widely-accepted misconception that antibiotic use on farms is the major factor contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Misuse of antibiotics in human medicine, not antibiotics in farm animals, is overwhelmingly responsible for the increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistance.

The Center for Accountability in Science’s Chief Science Officer, Dr. Joseph Perrone, who has also served as an adviser to the World Health Organization and on the WHO’s diagnostic steering committee, also discussed these issues in a recent op-ed on the problem antibiotic resistance.

“Numerous physician surveys show doctors feel pressured by patients to prescribe antibiotics, even when they’re not needed,” said Perrone. “A report last month from the United Kingdom estimated that British doctors wrote 10 million unnecessary or inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions in 2014.”

Ag Group, Antibiotics, Biosecurity, Disease, International, Internet, Pharmaceutical

Animal Ag Bites

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  • Ryan Bennett has been promoted to Senior Director of Industry & Environmental Affairs for the National Milk Producers Federation. In this position, Bennett will focus on two critical areas of growing interest to NMPF members: animal care and environmental issues.
  • Commercial Angus producers Maxine and Jason Davis from Antone Ranch in Mitchell, Ore., took home a brand-new Cat® 262D Skid Steer Loader, generously donated by Caterpillar Inc. during the Angus Means Business National Convention & Trade Show Nov. 3-5 in Overland Park, Kan. All participants attending the Angus Convention Nov. 3 were eligible to win the machine, which is valued at $60,000.
  • Mark your calendars for a great exhibition of dairy supplies, equipment and education at this year’s Minnesota Milk Dairy Conference & Expo, “Stronger Together: It Starts with You!” December 1–3, at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minn.
Animal Bites

Dairy Products & Consumer Confidence

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

nafb-15-141-editedThe Midwest Dairy Association was among the many agricultural organizations who took advantage of NAFB’s Trade Talk to discuss pressing issues impacting their members. I spoke with Jerry Messer, dairy farmer from North Dakota and chairman of the National Dairy Council.

Jerry shares more about the checkoff’s work with Fuel Up to Play 60. He said they are in 73,000 schools which is creating an impact on 16 million kids. Consumer confidence is another hurdle the checkoff is focused on. They have continued to stay on the cutting edge utilizing technology to share their message. And that tech used is simply social media.

McDonald’s also had a big announcement. The fast-food chain will be using 100% real butter on all their menu items. For dairy farmers, Jerry said it means 600 million lbs. of dairy products being sold just through McDonald’s. Listen to my complete interview with Jerry here: Interview with Jerry Messer, Midwest Dairy

nafb-15-143-editedStephanie Cundith is a registered dietitian for Midwest Dairy Association and our intern, Kindra Hall, caught up with her to learn more about all those health benefits associated with dairy products.

She said McDonald’s decision to use 100% real butter was made because of the checkoff’s extensive research. The checkoff is also focused on connecting consumers with farmers so they can see first hand the great pride they take in producing quality milk products. Stephanie said the Udder Truth, a myth busting campaign, and Acres and Avenues, are two examples of steps taken to strengthen that consumer education. Listen to Kindra’s complete interview with Stephanie here: Interview with Stephanie Cundith, Midwest Dairy

Download and view photos from the event here: NAFB Convention Photo Album

Ag Group, Audio, Dairy, Dairy Checkoff, Food, NAFB

Merck Talks Antibiotics & Producer Training

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

nafb-15-100-sibbel As the agriculture community came together during the annual National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s Trade Talk to share the latest information on their industry, the team behind Merck Animal Health was excited to discuss one of the hottest topics in animal agriculture: Antibiotic Stewardship.

The first expert we heard from was Dr. Rick Sibbel, DVM, who currently heads up the department of Veterinary Technical Services at Merck. He discusses the current state of antibiotic use in animal agriculture, debunks some common myths, offers perspective on the controversy of antibiotic use on farms, and gives his thoughts on the future of food animal pharmaceuticals.
Interview with Dr. Rick Sibbel, Merck Animal Health

Dr. Justin Welsh was also on hand to speak; his focus was on CreatingConnections, the stocksmanship-based, web-accessible series of educational training modules for producers and their employees. The modules target the beef industry, and will feature topics on cattle welfare and health issues, such as safe methods of transportation and chute safety. Interview with Dr. Justin Welsh, Merck Creating Connections

nafb-15-97-welshMerck is definitely at the forefront of new technology in the wake of the growing stigma on antibiotic usage, and the recent announcement that the company has acquired Harrisvaccines, an innovative, privately-held company known for veterinary vaccine development, only further shows the company’s dedication to innovative health solutions.

Harrisvaccines offers an important portfolio of vaccines, with a focus on production animals, featuring a unique RNA Particle technology that serves as a breakthrough in modern vaccine development. The company also boasts a highly versatile production platform, one that is able to target a wide range of both viruses and bacteria. This system has been instrumental in producing the first conditionally-licensed vaccine to help control Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv), which has killed more than eight million piglets since its 2013 emergence in the U.S.

In September 2015, Harrisvaccines received a conditional approval for a Eurasian H5 subtype avian influenza vaccine and was subsequently awarded a contract by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS) to produce the vaccine.

View and download photos from the event here: NAFB Convention Photo Album

Ag Group, Animal Health, Antibiotics, Merck, NAFB, Vaccine

Mizzou to Host PORK 101 Course

Lizzy Schultz Leave a Comment

logo The University of Missouri will be hosting its annual PORK 101 course January 13-15, 2016, in Columbia, Missouri. The course will be hosted by the American Meat Science Association (AMSA) in cooperation with the National Pork Board, and is sponsored by Elanco Animal Health.

Attendees will receive firsthand experience into the selection and evaluation of live hogs, and the fabrication of pork carcasses. The importance of hog handling, grading, and food safety will be discussed, along with the the value differences in swine, pork carcasses, pork primals and processed pork products. Attendees will also have the opportunity to prepare and sample products from pork carcasses including pumped loins, bacon, hams and sausage.

The course provides an excellent foundation for anyone and all people working in the pork industry, and the hands-on format offers a great tool for attendees to become familiar with specific cuts of pork and industry procedures.

“I can speak to the entire process of how pork in harvested now,” said one past attendee. “Understanding the primals and the bone-in/boneless cuts is very important in my role.”

PORK 101 is co-sponsored by the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP), American Society of Animal Science (ASAS), North American Meat Institute Foundation (NAMIF) and the Southwest Meat Association (SMA). Registration for (your association) and other partnering organizations is $800. Non-member registration is $950.

For more information or questions regarding PORK 101 please visit the website.

Ag Group, American Meat Science, AMSA, Company Announcement, Meat, Pork, Pork Checkoff, University