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ARLINGTON, VA - Milk producers joined milk processors yesterday in supporting the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed regulations on the safe shipment of food, saying the draft rules largely write into regulations what the dairy industry is already doing.

“Dairy foods are safely transported already, and there is no need to improve on current practices,” said Beth Briczinski, vice president for dairy foods and nutrition for the National Milk Producers Federation. “As a result, we basically support what the FDA is proposing.”

NMPF, the voice of 32,000 dairy farmers in Washington, submitted comments on the draft regulations issued in February as part of efforts to implement a major update of the nation’s food safety laws enacted in 2011.

NMPF did note several areas where the proposal could be clarified or modified. In particular, it urged expanding waivers from the regulation for dairy products if a shipper is licensed under the Grade “A” milk program. NMPF urged including outbound shipments of finished products – such as yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream – as well as inbound shipments of unpasteurized milk under the waiver.

Other areas NMPF suggested clarifying included language regarding short or intra-company food shipments and the transportation of frozen dairy desserts. On the latter, the organization said the final regulations should specify that ice cream and other frozen dairy desserts should not be included under the proposed regulations because when ice cream is temperature-abused it doesn’t present a food safety risk. Instead, it melts. 

 

The U.S. dairy industry told the Senate Finance Committee’s trade subcommittee today that the 2010 U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement has further strengthened U.S. dairy exports to the Korean market, even though it is not yet fully implemented. 

At the same time, Shawna Morris, vice president for trade for the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), said a new and growing type of trade barrier involving common food names has emerged that is restricting access to the Korean market for key U.S. cheeses. 

“(Korea’s restrictions on the use of several common cheese names) are the direct result of their separate free trade agreement with the European Union,” Morris, shown at right, testified. “In a nutshell, the European Union has been leaning on countries around the world to block imports of products by confiscating common food names and reserving them exclusively for cheese producers in their member countries.” 

The U.S.-Korea free trade agreement eliminated nearly all Korean tariffs on America’s dairy exports. Morris said even though the agreement has only been in place since 2012, and its full impact is still years away, U.S. dairy exports to Korea in 2013 more than doubled the average of the three previous years. 

CEO’S CORNER


Jim Mulhern
NMPF President
& CEO

In the 1973 Woody Allen comedy “Sleeper,” Allen’s character awakes from two centuries of suspended animation to find that his preferred diet of wheat germ, organic honey and tiger's milk has fallen out of favor. Scientists in the future have concluded that the benefits of those substances, believed in the 1970s to contain life-preserving properties, were inferior to deep fat, steak, cream pies and hot fudge.

Introducing the New Margin Protection Program

It took five years of work, but Congress finally responded by including a new Dairy Producer Margin Protection Program in the 2014 farm bill. The 950-page bill does feature the most significant rewrite of dairy policy in more than a generation, based on idea developed by NMPF's members. The program will help address the volatility in farmers’ milk prices, as well as feed costs. 
The MPP is schedule to be implemented by the USDA by Sept. 1, 2014.


Use our website www.futurefordairy.com to read about what the new program is, why it was needed, and, most importantly in the months ahead, how it is being implemented.

 

NEW:  A regular, detailed update on the margins between milk prices and feed costs can be downloaded from the Margin Protection Program page.

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