UEP January Committee Briefings and Board Meeting

February 2, 2023

Last week, UEP and UEA members, as well as industry stakeholders gathered for IPPE and the first UEP meetings of 2023. With the 2022 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak surpassing 2015 detections, biosecurity, indemnities and vaccination received considerable attention during meeting briefings.

During the general session on Tuesday, the Executive Committee reported on the cage-free transition study partnership with the Food Industry Association (FMI), and those results will soon be made available to members. The Board also moved to proceed with the proposed UEP Certified Cage-Free Guidelines updates and plans to release final revisions later this year.

Committee Briefings

Sherman Miller, AH&B Chair

Chair Sherman Miller provided opening comments for the Animal Health and Biosecurity Committee Briefing and presented issues regarding HPAI, waterfowl alert network programs, and biosecurity. Oscar Garrison, SVP of Food Safety Regulatory Affairs, gave an overview of a recent feather friend meeting with APHIS leadership and discussed future approaches to mitigating issues associated with the ongoing outbreak.

Chair Karyn Kreher opened the Food Safety Committee Briefing and presented the food safety committee report, which included an update on the FDA Traceability Rule on requirements for additional traceability records for certain foods, including shell eggs.

During the Animal Welfare Briefing, Chair Roger Seger and Dr. Larry Sadler, SVP of Animal Welfare, provided a committee update on UEP Certified, as well as updates to the UEP Certified Cage-free Guidelines. Dr. Sadler reminded UEP Certified program participants that audit preferences are due Feb. 5, and all audits for UEP  Certification must be completed by Nov. 30, 2023. Dr. Sadler also reminded UEP Certified participants that the new UEP Certified training videos, which are available through the UEP Certified Portal, must have documented training for all individuals working with or around hens by Oct. 2023.

In the Government Relations Briefing, Chairman Brent Booker, along with UEP's Washington team of Randy Green and Louie Perry, presented four topics for the 2023 position papers: farm bill priorities, HPAI, egg market conditions, immigration and labor. Perry proceeded to outline election outcomes, including House and Senate agriculture committee leadership for the 118th Congress, and the implications these seats may have on the egg industry and the 2023 farm bill.

Vice Chair Dan Krouse provided opening comments in the Environment and Sustainability Briefing. Afterward, UEP Environment Consultant Tom Hebert gave a state and federal regulatory update, including proposed rodenticide use restrictions; CAFOs and industrial stormwater permitting; Clean Water Act (CWA) study of discharges; and EPCRA Reporting Rule and layer air emissions factors. Hebert also noted that the new WOTUS rule should take effect on March 20, 2023.

Supreme Court report

Michael Formica, NPPC

Michael Formica, Chief Legal Strategist for National Pork Producers Council, opened Monday afternoon’s meetings by presenting a report on the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and cases pertinent to animal agriculture. Much of the SCOTUS overview centered around Proposition 12, and whether the Court deems it can ever be enacted. Formica reminded members that SCOTUS is currently recessed and likely will not come to a decision until late February or March. Depending on how SCOTUS rules, Formica says producers should expect other states to implement similar policies and that there will be implications on future cases and other animal welfare issues.