Public calendars issued by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) show the agency’s top officials opening up calendar space for some pretty large meetings recently. For example, public calendars released through May show FSIS Carmen Rottenberg welcomed a mid-month meeting with the entire Siluriformes (catfish) Import Industry Roundtable.

In-person attendees visiting FSIS from the outside included:

  • Don Penney, AJC
  • Diana Chea, All Harvest Trading
  • Ricky Chea, All Harvest Trading
  • Thuy Ngo, Bien Dong Seafood
  • Sang Phan, Coast Beacon
  • Sam Galetti, Great American
  • Christine Ngo, H & N Group
  • Annie Yeung, Hoi Fung
  • Matthew Fass, Maritime
  • Jennifer Champagne, Piazzas
  • Juan Pio Hernandez, U.S. Seafood Distributors Association
  • Allen Johnson, U.S. Seafood Distributors Association

Attendees via teleconference included:

  • Chad Causey, Catfish Farmers of America
  • Steve McDermott, Food Safety Quality Service Consulting
  • Nancy Yang, H & N Group
  • Ting Ting Qu, HF Food Service, Inc.
  • Annie Yeung, HF Food Service, Inc.
  • Len Lang, Import Export Associates
  • Mark Costello, Preferred Freezer Services
  • Michael Townsend, Preferred Freezer Services
  • Lawrence Abbott, Preferred Freezer Services
  • Eric Wolf, Preferred Freezers
  • Jack Schuyler, RICH’S

FSIS Deputy Administrator Paul Kiecker and agency staffers Karen Hunter, Phil Bronstein, Hany Sidrak and Michelle Catlin also participated in the Siluriformes meeting.

Later in May both Mindy Brashears, USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, and FSIS Administrator Carmen Rottenberg headed up meetings with consumer and industry stakeholders. Brashears, who heads up the Office of Food Safety (OFS), held one of the meetings with consumer representatives on May 22.

In-person attendance (according to invitation lists) included:

  • Thomas Gremillion, Consumer Federation of America
  • Rachel Lyons, United Food and Commercial Workers
  • Tony Corbo, Food and Water Watch
  • Eva Greenthal, Center for Science in the Public Interest
  • Sarah Sorscher, Center for Science in the Public Interest
  • Sarah Borron, Government Accountability Project
  • Jaycee Hanson, Center for Food Safety

Attending by teleconference were:

  • Pat Buck, Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention
  • Tanya Roberts, Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention
  • Michael Hansen, Consumers Union

OFS Chief of Staff Shawna Newson, Rottenberg, and Kiecker also meet with the consumer representatives. Rottenberg and Kiecker also held an FSIS meeting with the same consumer representatives on the same day.

On the following day, May 23, Brashears and Rottenberg held a similar pair of meetings, only this time for industry representatives. Rottenberg, Kiecker, and Newsome also joined Brashears in meeting with the industry representatives.

Attending the OFS meeting with industry were:

  • Brian Eyink, Hogan Lovells
  • Andrew Bailey, National Pork Producers
  • Lisa Picard, National Turkey Federation
  • Casey Gallimore, North American Meat Institute
  • Mark Dopp, North American Meat Institute
  • John Aaltendorf, North American Meat Institute
  • John Dillard, Olsson Frank Weeda
  • Brett Schwemer, Olsson Frank Weeda

It was followed by the Rottenberg’s industry meeting on FSIS issues Kiecker and other FSIS assistants also attended.

In-person attendance:

  • Chris Young, American Association of Meat Processors
  • Alice Johnson, Butterball
  • Ai Kataoka, Grocery Manufacturers Association
  • Kristen Spotz, Grocery Manufacturers Association
  • Brian Eyink, Hogan Lovells, LLP
  • Andrew Bailey, National Pork Producers
  • Lisa Picard, National Turkey Federation
  • Mark Dopp, North American Meat Institute
  • John Aaltendorf, North American Meat Institute
  • Casey Gallimore, North American Meat Institute
  • Laurie Bryant, North American Meat Institute
  • Brett Schwemer, Olsson Frank Weeda
  • John Dillard, Olsson Frank Weeda
  • Kelly Nuckolls, Sustainable Ag
  • Lia Biondo, US Cattlemen’s Association

Teleconference attendance:

  • Keith Day, 2 Rivers
  • Kristin Lindahl, Cargill
  • Daniel Etzler, Cargill
  • Ashley Peterson, Chicken USA
  • Ashley Eisenbeiser, Food Marketing Institute
  • Betsy Booren, Grocery Manufacturers Association
  • Riette van Laack, Hyman Phelps & McNamara, P.C.
  • Leonard Lang, Import Export Associates
  • Dane Bernard, Keystone Foods
  • Mandy Carr, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
  • Kathy Simmons, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
  • Lisa Weddig, National Fisheries
  • Laura Bachmeier, National Pork Board
  • Norm Robertson, North American Meat Institute
  • Roya Galindo, North American Meat Institute
  • Barbara Negron, North American Natural Casings Association
  • Tina Rendon, Pilgrims
  • Michael Roberson, Publix
  • Cheryl Enlow, Renaissance Food Group
  • Hiroko Bray, Smithfield
  • Katie Hanigan, Smithfield
  • Alison Griffino, Tyson
  • Jennifer McEntire, United Fresh
  • Kim Rice, US Foods
  • Cheyenne McEndaffer, US Meat Export Federation
  • Rafael Rivera, US Poultry
  • Charlotte Waller, Virginia Poultry Growers
  • Bryan Miller, Wayne Farms

Rottenberg also met during May with some smaller groups over several of the agency’s hot button issues. These included swine modernization, foreign material, import inspection, the cats and dog provision of the Farm Bill, and various updates.

And Brashears met with salmonella control, performance standards, food safety priorities, and new technology.

Foreign material was the topic of two meetings in May involving Tyson Foods and Rottenberg and others on her leadership team. Foreign materials are more frequently the cause of costly recalls.

IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group, Thomas Gremillion and the Safe Food Coalition, and the National Turkey Federation were involved in separate meetings with the deputy undersecretary over Salmonella controls.

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