Food Workers Stuck in Vaccine Limbo
Limited doses and a messy patchwork of state distribution plans have complicated efforts by labor advocates, meat processing companies and others seeking equitable access to vaccines for workers across the food industry, POLITICO’s Ximena Bustillo and your host report. Just last week, New York decided at the last minute to drop farm food processing workers from its “phase 1b” rollout, after the state received fewer doses than anticipated. The decision drew swift pushback from major agricultural groups in the state, including the New York Farm Bureau, dairy processors and winemakers. In the meantime, advocacy groups are trying to bridge the gaps in the system. The nonprofit Migrant Clinicians Network maintains a database to help farmworkers who are frequently on the move — for example, by making sure they receive the correct second dose if they moved from one state to another in between vaccinations.

Source: Michael Best Strategies
Photo: Juan Rico culls cotton plants growing between rows in an irrigated cotton field July 27, 2011 near Hermleigh, Texas. | Scott Olson/Getty Images
Clean Energy

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan today announced a set of policy proposals that will lead Minnesota to 100 percent clean energy in the state’s electricity sector by 2040… Governor Walz’s plan has four parts:

  • 100 Percent Clean Energy by 2040. This standard would require all electric utilities in Minnesota to use only carbon-free energy resources by 2040.
  • Clean Energy First. This regulatory policy would require that, whenever a utility proposes to replace or add new power generation, it must prioritize energy efficiency and clean energy resources over fossil fuels.
  • Energy Optimization. This proposal would raise Minnesota’s Energy Efficiency Resource Standard for investor-owned electric utilities and expand the Conservation Improvement Program.
  • Carbon Reduction Goals for Existing Buildings. This proposal would set a state goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions from existing buildings in half by 2035.

Source: Morning Take
President Biden Day One Executive Actions
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden plans to issue 17 executive actions, including 15 executive actions, on climate change, immigration, COVID-19 response and other issues. Biden will sign the executive orders and memoranda in the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon, around 5:15pm EST, his incoming press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. Psaki and other top Biden officials said the first-day actions are only part of what will be a series of moves to undo Trump policies and implement Biden's campaign promises in his first weeks in office.

Source: Michael Best
WI Health Secretary Andrea Palm Leaving for Post with Biden Administration
Wisconsin’s top health care agency administrator Andrea Palm will join president-elect Joe Biden’s administration as the state grapples with advancing Covid-19 vaccinations. Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Palm has been nominated for a position as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Gov. Tony Evers announced Monday. Palm will leave her position in Wisconsin for her new post on Jan. 20, which is Biden's Inauguration Day. Read More

Source: WMC

Cornell Asks MWFPA Members to Respond to a COVID Survey

This program was strongly advocated by the food industry to provide applicable strategies and knowledge that can be implemented rapidly to minimize or eliminate the impacts of COVID-19 on the food and agriculture system.  

This research will benefit the participating companies whose COVID-19 related experiences and needs will be heard and could be acted upon, for the ultimate benefit of the food industry as a whole.  Read More

For questions, please contact: Dr. Renata Ivanek at

Resilience in Food Safety for 2021: Consumer Related Challenges
Dr. David Acheson, CEO & president of The Acheson Group, suggests that food firms will need resilience when addressing consumer-related challenges in 2021. Consumer shift away from preservatives A recent survey found that seven in 10 Americans are concerned about the presence of chemical products in food. The poll by Mérieux NutriSciences and bioMérieux also found that 70 percent of respondents were troubled about pesticides, antibiotics and additives. Acheson points to preservatives as an issue specifically on consumers’ minds. “When it comes to appealing to consumers, pure science doesn’t always win. For example, consumers have pushed for a shift away from preservatives recently,” Acheson said. “When these additives are removed from products, however, it introduces new risks.” This survey also found that consumers still care about bacteria, with two-thirds concerned about pathogens such as Salmonella and Listeria.  Read More

Source: Michael Best Strategies
After Two Years of Work, U.S.D.A. Publishes National Hemp Rule
Two years after the 2018 farm bill legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp, the USDA completed work on a regulation to oversee production. Some advocates say hemp could become a profitable crop grown across the country while other analysts say comparatively low demand will limit hemp acreage to the level of a niche crop. The final rule, which takes effect on March 22, sets a higher THC limit — 1 percent — for determining when plants must be destroyed and makes it easier to dispose of them. It also allows more time — 30 days — to harvest crops after collecting samples for THC testing and expands for this year the number laboratories that can analyze the samples than was proposed initially by the USDA. “The transition from prohibition to a legal and regulated system takes time and USDA’s final rule is a historic step forward for hemp in the United States,” said attorney Shawn Hauser of the law firm Vicente Sederberg LLP. “We will continue to work with regulators and through Congress to perfect the regulatory structure for hemp.” Read More

Source: Michael Best Strategies
Bronaugh Tapped for Deputy at U.S.D.A.
Biden on Monday revealed a slate of nominees for the No. 2 jobs at federal agencies, including his choice of Jewel Bronaugh as deputy secretary at the Agriculture Department. She would be the first woman of color to hold that position, if confirmed, our Helena Bottemiller Evich reports. Bronaugh is currently Virginia’s agriculture commissioner, and she was previously executive director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Virginia. Her selection for deputy secretary comes after Biden’s transition team pledged to install a more diverse leadership team at USDA, given the department’s long history of discrimination — as well as the criticism from Black farmers and progressive groups about Biden’s nomination of Vilsack for secretary. Read More

Source: Michael Best Strategies
WI Appeals Court Agrees to Hear Lawsuit Over Release of Data on Businesses Allegedly Connected to COVID-19 Cases
A Wisconsin appeals court agreed Wednesday to hear a case regarding the release of state health department data on businesses linked to COVID-19 cases. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel requested the records from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services in June, seeking the names of facilities associated with coronavirus outbreaks and the number of cases. Read More

Source: WMC
Frozen Produce Sales Up 22% in Retail in 2020
November and December sales were dominated by the holidays along with the consumers’ response to rapidly rising new COVID-19 cases across many states. Some states and cities enacted renewed shelter-in-place mandates which impacted grocery retailing in many ways. Read More

Food Safety Regulations Affecting Frozen Foods Processors in 2021
It has been said that elections have consequences, and we expect President-elect Joe Biden will pivot in many policy areas when he takes office on January 20, 2021. However, food safety remains a bipartisan issue and much of the American Frozen Food Institute's food safety public policy priorities will continue in 2021. Here are the top-two food safety regulations on AFFI's agenda that should also be top of mind for your company. Read More

Source: CLFP
2021 Manufacturing Outlook: Food and Beverage Manufacturers Cautiously Optimistic
Food manufacturers are feeling at least moderately optimistic about their prospects for 2021, according to our annual Manufacturing Outlook Survey. Asked directly how they view the new year, 21% of our 158 respondents said they were "very optimistic" and another 37% said they were "somewhat optimistic." Only 13% were pessimistic to any degree, and the remaining 29% said they were neutral or not sure.  Read More

Source: CLFP
What California's New Plastic Bottle Means for Beverage Manufacturers
Throughout all industries, there has been a gradual shift to become more sustainable. Now it appears this is reaching the packaging industry as well. California recently passed a new law, AB 793, that is going to change the way packaging is handled. Signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, all plastic beverage containers must contain an increased amount of recycled material, also known as post-consumer resin (PCR). Read More

JBS offers $100 to Employees Who Get COVID-19 Vaccine
Meatpacker JBS USA and chicken company Pilgrim's Pride Corp said on Thursday they will pay $100 to U.S. employees who voluntarily receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The bonus is intended to encourage employees to get inoculations, after thousands of U.S. meatpacking workers became infected with the coronavirus last year. Outbreaks of the disease temporarily shut slaughterhouses in the spring, pushing up meat prices and tightening supplies for consumers. JBS USA and Pilgrim's Pride said internal surveys showed 60% to 90% of employees at individual facilities were willing to be vaccinated. The companies have launched educational campaigns to promote the vaccine to their workforce, which includes immigrants from around the world. Read More

Source: Michael Best Strategies
WI Includes Food & Ag Workers in Phase 1B Vaccine Prioritization
The WI Department of Health Services signed off last week on allowing teachers, non-frontline health care personnel and prisoners to receive the COVID-19 vaccine around March 1.

The agency also signed off on adding those in congregate living facilities, public transit, grocery store workers and others to the next wave of those eligible for the vaccine.

The group totals around 600,000 Wisconsinites, DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk told reporters in a health briefing.

The State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee made the recommendations after reviewing the science and considering nearly 5,000 public comments to provide guidance that equitably distributes the vaccine across the state. But the start date to vaccinate these groups is dependent on the vaccine supply from the federal government.  Read More

Source: WisPolitics
COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Overview
Each day we learn more about the distribution process for the COVID-19 vaccine. Since information about the distribution of the vaccine can be confusing, M3 Insurance provides a helpful overview of the process gathered from key state and federal resources. Read More

Source: M3 Insurance
F.D.A. Enhances Efforts to Protect Consumers from Food Allergens
The Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), Dr. Susan Mayne, shared a blog post outlining the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA)’s commitment to protecting consumers with food allergies. Dr. Mayne address three main areas of focus: (1) prevention and protection, (2) compliance and enforcement, and (3) science and research. FDA has improved its ability to inform consumers of the presence of major food allergens in food. Under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, packaged food must identify the source of all major allergens used to make the food.

Source: AFFI
If you’ve been toying with the idea of implementing LED lighting efforts in your facility, then now is the perfect time to take pause and home in on the benefits and relative ease of an LED lighting retrofit. From better lighting and improved safety, to significant cost savings, the question shouldn’t be IF it is time for an LED lighting retrofit, but WHEN.  First things first, consider the numerous benefits that a LED retrofit will bring in tow:

  • Improved Energy Efficiency
  • Reduced Energy Costs
  • Reduced Recurring Maintenance Costs
  • Improved Lighting Quality, Safety & Productivity
  • Capture Tax Incentives & Rebates

Allow APPI Energy to perform an initial facility assessment to determine if your organization is eligible for rebate incentives and assess the viability of the project. APPI Energy makes it easy for our clients to understand exactly what their rebates and savings can be.

Contact APPI Energy today to learn more and to find out if your organization is the right fit for an LED lighting retrofit. Call 800-520-6685 or email

Mark Your Calendar
February 9, 2021 - The 7th Annual Nitrogen: Minnesota’s Grand Challenge and Compelling Opportunity Conference will be held on February 9, highlighting the latest research specific to nitrogen management. Learn more and register here

February 16, 2021 - 13th Annual Nutrient Management Conference will be held on February 16, addressing topics relating to nutrient management. Learn more and register here

February 11, 2021 - 9:30-10:30 a.m. (CST)
Lunch and Learn: How to Increase Sales and Improve Customer Service in Challenging Times, presented by Alithya

Join us to learn how Continental Mills, a leading food service manufacturer, improved sales and customer service even during Covid. You’ll hear Steve Woodside, the Continental Mills Director of Foodservice Marketing and Sales Operations, explain how Microsoft Dynamics Sales and Customer Service has helped the company be more productive, smarter, improve connections and increase sales. REGISTER
March 9-12 - The Partnership for Food Safety Education has scheduled its Consumer Food Safety Education (CFSE) Virtual Conference for March 9-12, 2021. It is the only conference in the U.S. dedicated to consumer food safety education. This year’s conference will explore many timely topics, including those that have impacted consumers since the COVID-19 pandemic began. More


February 4 - 10:00 a.m. - Raw Products Committee will review the 2021 continuing research projects

February 10 - 10:00 a.m. - HR Committee will hear from M3 Insurance on the Covid impacts to employer HIPAA recordkeeping

February 25 - 10:00 a.m. - Raw Products Committee will hear new proposal for 2021 research projects