Committee Briefings

November 5, 2020

J.T. Dean chaired the Animal Welfare Briefing, and Dr. Larry Sadler, VP of animal welfare, updated the committee on the UEP Certified program. Sadler presented recommendations from the Audit Subcommittee for changes to the UEP Certified Cage-Free guidelines, which were approved by the Board. See UEP Certified Updates.  The Board also approved committee recommendations for improvements to the UEP Certified portal and program fees to remain at the same level as 2020.

David Hurd, chair of the Animal Welfare Priorities Subcommittee, presented five recommendations for implementation by the committee in 2021. See for the motions passed by the Board on these recommendations in UEP Animal Welfare Priorities.

The Animal Health and Biosecurity Briefing, chaired by Sherman Miller, began with Oscar Garrison, SVP of food safety regulatory affairs, reviewing the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program funding from the farm bill and the agency commitments for poultry. The committee also discussed foreign vaccine approvals and the need for universal approval across countries. Miller encouraged producers to help identify research projects for possible funding by the USDA.

Cliff Lillywhite

During the Food Safety Committee Briefing, chaired by Cliff Lillywhite, Garrison provided an overview of the first Food Safety Advisory Council (FSAC) meeting. The committee discussed FSAC action items and will meet again in November to discuss further recommendations. Garrison also reviewed the FDA Traceability Proposed Rule and will provide more information after the FDA public meetings in November and December. The committee agreed more information is needed about blockchain, and Garrison will set up a webinar on this topic in the next few months.

UEP President Chad Gregory thanked Lillywhite, who is retiring this year, for serving as Chair of the Food Safety Committee for 13 years and serving on the Board.

During the Government Relations Briefing, chaired by Rob Knecht, UEP Consultants Louie Perry and Randy Green provided a comprehensive review of Washington, D.C. activities. Key COVID-19 related items include working with FDA and USDA on relaxing regulations to ease the movement of eggs from food service to retail, increasing the purchase of eggs, and egg products and making them eligible for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The committee made a motion, approved by the Board, for UEP staff and consultants to focus on appropriate funding for animal health, food safety and assistance to all segments of the industry (including USDA purchases of eggs and egg products); honest food labeling; organic regulations; labor and immigration; and appropriate liability protection for business.

Steve George chaired the Environment Briefing and facilitated a roundtable discussion of state developments. UEP Consultant Tom Hebert gave the status of the EPA Layer Air Emissions Factors for poultry species, including layers, which is expected to be published in June 2021. Doug Mack, Daniel Fields, and David Hurd shared issues and challenges with the environmental performance of their cage-free systems and answered questions from committee members.