Trump, EU officials announce deal to sell more American beef to Europe
President Donald Trump announced a deal to sell more American beef to Europe, “a modest win” for the administration in the midst of its continued trade conflict with China, Reuters reports. The European Commission has stressed that any beef deal will not increase overall beef imports and that all beef coming in would be hormone-free, in line with EU food safety rules. The deal could provide some relief to the U.S. agricultural industry as it deals with retaliatory tariffs leveled by China’s government. According to Trump, in the first year, duty-free U.S. beef exports to the EU will increase 46%. “In total the duty-free exports will rise from $150 million to $420 million, an increase of over 180%,” Trump said.
FDA requests comments on animal drug procedures
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is requesting public comment on several key issues aimed at ensuring procedures for assigning withdrawal periods for animal drugs intended for use in food-producing animals adequately account for current industry practices. The agency is requesting public comment on: 1) industry practices on transport times for certain food animals from production facilities to slaughter facilities; 2) how frequently dairy animals are milked; and 3) how end users such as animal producers and veterinarians interpret animal drug labeling stating the drug has a “zero-day withdrawal period” or “zero-day milk discard time,” terms indicating an animal’s meat or milk is allowed to enter the food chain regardless of how much time has passed since the animal last received the drug.
USDA inspector general finds fault with agency relocation plans
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Inspector General released a report criticizing the agency for moving forward on plans to relocate the Economic Research Service and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture without seeking certain congressional permissions, according to Meatingplace. The USDA Secretary’s office, meanwhile, responded by saying that congressional permissions weren’t necessary and may actually be an unconstitutional requirement, according to the inspector general’s report. The report is expected to have little bearing on the agency relocations to the Kansas City area, since the move has already been initiated and about two-thirds of the agencies’ employees have indicated they’ll leave the department.
New report shows ‘dramatic reductions’ of antimicrobial use in turkeys and broiler chickens
U.S. Poultry & Egg Association released what it calls the “U.S. poultry industry’s first-ever report quantifying antimicrobial use on broiler chicken and turkey farms.” According to the announcement, the report “shows dramatic reductions of turkey and broiler chicken use over a five-year timeframe,” from 2013 to 2017. Among other findings, the analysis shows that broiler chickens receiving antimicrobials in the hatchery decreased from 93% to 17%; for turkeys, that percentage decreased from 96% to 41%. In chickens, researchers found a “documented shift” to the use of antimicrobial drugs that are not considered medically important to humans. There were several possible reasons for these developments, including FDA regulation changes.
African swine fever’s impact on the feed additives industry
The African swine fever crisis is not only hurting the pig industry; it’s also hurting the feed additives industry, an animal nutrition industry consultant writes for WattAgNet. While the industry has been able to make gains with the push for antibiotic use reduction, there’s not much room for additives in this case, he says. As pig producers in China and Southeast Asia, both significantly affected by ASF, deal with the virus, many want to cut back on expenses they deem unnecessary. “All in all,” says Ioannis Mavromichalis, “ASF might be the beginning of the end of the high focus we have enjoyed in making feed better with additives.”
Disinfectants effective against ASF, study shows
In case you missed it in last week’s news: Two disinfectants containing a patented technology known as Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide were found to be effective against the African swine fever virus, the technology’s manufacturer announced. The Intervention and Prevail disinfectants, manufactured by Virox, “achieved complete inactivation” of the ASF virus with a five-minute contact time, the study, conducted by Virox, showed. The test, carried out at the Madrid-based European Reference Laboratory for African Swine Fever, used standard test methods that re-created “real world ‘on-farm'” conditions. “We were confident both Intervention and Prevail would be effective against ASF, but having direct confirmation gives us and our customers reassurance,” said Jose A. Ramirez, Ph.D., Virox’s executive vice president and lead science advisor.