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President's Council on Food Safety

The President's Council on Food Safety was established in August 1998 and charged with developing a comprehensive Federal Food Safety Strategic plan. Dr. Beth Lautner recently attended a public meeting to discuss the draft of the Strategic Plan. During the discussion, Dr. Lautner emphasized the importance of developing a comprehensive food safety research database that captures public and private sector funding and a framework in which to measure progress on a common research agenda. In addition, it was noted that current national animal health surveys could be used to collect food safety information at the farm level when appropriate.

Industry requirements for needles

Dr. Paul Sundberg met with officials of the company that manufactures the needles used in the majority of pork production operations to discuss the industry need for a needle that is strong enough to withstand the production environment without breaking. Preventing this physical hazard in pork products is critical to maintaining domestic and international consumer confidence.

PORK 101 class schedule

The 2000 class schedule for PORK 101 has been published. These pork quality classes are an excellent educational opportunity for both swine veterinarians and pork producers. The locations and dates are as follows:

  • March 6-8
    Michigan State University;
  • March 20-22
    Iowa State University;
  • May 22-24
    Texas A & M University;
  • July 17-19
    Kansas State University;
  • August 9-11
    Colorado State University;
  • September 25-27
    Oklahoma State University; and
  • October 16-18
    University of Nebraska.

For further information contact Dr. David Meisinger at the NPPC.

Plum Island Animal Disease Center

Dr. Dave Pyburn and four other AASP members recently attended the Swine Emphasis Foreign Animal Disease Training Course at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center at Plum Island, New York. This is the first time that this training course for Foreign Animal Disease Diagnosticians has been opened for industry veterinarians to attend. The purpose of this training is to raise the awareness of the threat of foreign animal diseases and to expose veterinarians to the clinical signs and pathologic lesions of foreign animal diseases to enable swifter recognition and containment of them in the field. There will be future opportunities for other AASP members to take advantage of this training.

Pork Checkoff Referendum

On February 28th Secretary Glickman made the announcement that he is calling for a referendum vote on the pork checkoff. NPPC supports the law as written in the Pork Act and Order passed by Congress in 1985, which says that if 15% of bona fide pork producers want a referendum, one shall be held. Throughout this process, the NPPC has been concerned that people who were not pork producers were trying to make decisions that would alter the future of the producer-funded checkoff programs.

During a meeting on January 5, the USDA stated that it appeared the petitioners did not have enough legitimate signatures of bona fide pork producers. According to the USDA, petitioners were 2558 signatures (or nearly 20%) short, without even having gone through the complete verification process of the entire petition. Of the petition signatures that the USDA attempted to validate, many responded that they had not signed the petition or that they did not sell hogs and were not pork producers.

In 1988, United States pork producers voted to move to a mandatory checkoff program so that all pork producers would be a part of the fair and equitable system that provided them with programs in the areas of research, education, and promotion. At the 2000 Pork Forum, pork producer delegates unanimously approved the following resolution in support of the checkoff program:

SO#1: NPPC Delegate Body Support for National Checkoff

MOTION: That the National Pork Producers Council Delegate Body support the national pork checkoff in its current form.

The NPPC also was directed by the delegate body to take measures to ensure that the USDA develops and implements an open, fair, transparent, and cost-effective voting procedure for the pork checkoff referendum.