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“Representative Continues Fight Against School Lunch Regulations”

South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem has promised to continue fighting to ease regulations limiting the amount of meat and grain in school lunches – according to The Hill. The first USDA rule was set in January 2012 – creating a weekly range of 10 to 12-ounces of meat and grains for high school students. At the end of 2012 – USDA allowed schools to serve unlimited meat and grain so the schools could have more time to adjust to the rule. This year – USDA extended that even further for the current school year – but Noem proposed legislation to make that extension permanent in December. Noem says the law says schools can only serve an average of 2-ounces of meat per meal – which is just three chicken nuggets for a high school student. Another part of the law requires students to include fruits and vegetables in their school lunch – which has increased costs and waste as students dumped the food they didn’t want in the trash. To fix that issue – USDA established a rule in June to require schools to offer meat, grains, fruit, vegetables and milk at lunch – but just requiring students to be served three of the five. Noem says government officials shouldn’t dictate what kids eat – and this is an issue she promises will remain a priority of hers over the next year.


“USDA Doesn’t Plan Action Under FFP Yet”

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced USDA doesn’t expect to take any actions under the Feedstock Flexibility Program in the first calendar quarter of 2014. USDA’s December 2013 WASDE report projects a Fiscal Year 2014 ending sugar stocks level unlikely to lead to forfeitures under the CCC sugar loan program. If forfeitures are expected – USDA can activate the FFP. USDA will reconsider FFP action before April 1st.


“Food Safety Official Discusses Proposed HIMP Rule”

U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Brian Ronholm talked with Meatingplace on the proposed new poultry slaughter inspection system based on the 15-year pilot program called HIMP – the HACCP-based Inspection Model Project. The new HIMP rules would allow young chicken line speeds to increase to 175-birds per minute from the current 140-birds per minute – which would eliminate the need for nearly 800 unionized federal inspector jobs. Some people worry fewer inspectors and faster line speeds may pose problems for safe poultry – but USDA officials say it works because moving some inspectors off the evisceration line gives them the opportunity to take more time to ensure the plant’s safety measures properly work.

Ronholm says currently one to four inspectors are positioned at fixed points on each evisceration line and are responsible for identifying carcasses with a range of quality and safety defects. Under the proposed HIMP rules – he says employees must identify, trim and remove these carcasses – while one FSIS carcass inspectors stays at one position and inspects the plant’s effectiveness at these tasks. As for the new speed – he says inspectors can slow the line if they see the plant isn’t maintaining good process control – and as many sorters can be put in place as needed to maintain process control. Ronholm says FSIS inspectors are consumers’ first line of defense against foodborne illness – and currently a portion of their time is spent doing quality control for establishments – which has nothing to do with food safety. These inspectors are responsible for verifying establishments are minimizing pathogens as much as possible – and he says the proposed inspection system would allow them to focus on those activities more effectively.


“Duke of Cambridge to Take Custom Ag Course”

Kensington Palace reports Prince William – the Duke of Cambridge – will take a 10-week agricultural management course at the University of Cambridge in the beginning of January. The Palace says the course is custom-designed for Prince William to provide him with an understanding of current issues that affect agricultural business and rural communities in the United Kingdom. The goal of the course is to give him a foundation when he takes over the Duchy of Cornwall – a major agricultural operation – from Prince Charles once he becomes King.


“Food Marketing Institute Presents Research Through YouTube Series”

Meatingplace reports the Food Marketing Institute and e-marketing agency Matrix Group have released an animated vide series to highlight important industry facts. The first video shows how often U.S. consumers go to the supermarket and which supermarkets they go to. This series is part of the institute’s investment in research to map the changing food retail landscape and identify new ways to present trends. Go to www dot YouTube dot com ( and search FMI Supermarket Trips to watch the first video.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service