February 17, 2020
The MWFPA News Bulletin is underwritten in part by Bug Blocker Doors & Screens

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has opened the comment period on draft instructions to support compliance with the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service specifically seeks input on the draft document that provides instructions for companies to select a testing method to determine whether modified genetic material is detectable.

The four-page draft document includes general considerations in selecting a test method, laboratory selection considerations and recordkeeping requirements. The definition of bioengineered food excludes foods in which the modified genetic material is not detectable. Selecting a test that meets the standards of performance for detectability testing will allow regulated entities to determine if modified genetic material is not detectable.

The final rule establishing National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard was published December 21, 2018. In the rule, USDA indicated it would provide instructions regarding acceptable testing methodology used to verify the absence of detectable modified genetic material. The comment period closes March 4, 2020.

Comments should be submitted online at www.regulations.gov.
The MWFPA News Bulletin is underwritten in part by Alliant Energy
Joint Employer Rule Webinar

On January 16, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published a final rule to revise and update the regulations interpreting joint employer status under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The final rule provides updated guidance for determining joint employer status when an employee performs work for his or her employer that simultaneously benefits another person (e.g., an individual or an entity). The final rule, effective March 16, 2020, also identifies certain factors that are not relevant when determining joint employer status.
 
On Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at 12:00 Noon, the Wage and Hour Division will offer a public webinar to provide compliance assistance on the final rule covering:
 
  • Provisions of the final rule so that employers comply with the changes and inform workers and their advocates of their rights.
  • Specific changes that the final rule will make when it becomes effective on March 16, 2020.
  • Detailed information about new materials and resources available on the joint employer final rule website: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/flsa/2020-joint-employment
 
Trump's 2021 Budget Request Seeks Modest Funding Increase For FDA

President Donald Trump's FY 2021 proposed budget for 2021 slightly increases funding for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The budget includes $1.5 billion for food safety across FDA, a $33 million increase above FY 2020. This total includes $1.4 billion in budget authority—a $5 million increase—however it also includes $28 million in user fees.

The President's proposal includes $15 million to address newly emerging challenges that cut across medical product and food safety including artificial Intelligence and other emerging technologies and an additional $5 million next fiscal year for the FDA to regulate cannabis and its derivatives, including CBD.

It also provides an additional $2 million for new technologies that make it easier to track-and-trace products through the supply chain, from the farm or manufacturer to the consumer.
Taxes
Tax Package Introduced By WI State Assembly Republicans

WI State Assembly Republicans have released their tax proposal.  AB-910, which was referred to the Joint Finance Committee for action today, is expected to be taken up in the Assembly, possibly Thursday.

It is unclear at this time whether the Senate would act on the proposal on Wednesday or wait until March.

The tax package includes $44 million to exempt machinery, tools, patterns assessed as personal property of manufacturers effective January 1, 2019.  
WI Legislature Embarks Upon Final Floor Sessions, PFAS Measures Move Out Of Committee

The Wisconsin State Assembly has embarked upon one of its final floor sessions of the year and is expected to wrap up its work later in February. The State Senate is likely to have one floor date this month and one next month.

Of importance to food manufacturers, public hearings were held on AB 843 and SB 772 to regulate PFAS air and water violations. MWFPA President Jason Culotta was among those representing industry groups and municipalities speaking in opposition or seeking changes to the legislation. 

An amendment was released to address the concerns of municipal wastewater systems, as land spreading of biosolids generated by their systems would have been questionable under the original bill. 

Many concerns remain however, including how to regulate air emissions of PFAS compounds, liability created for companies through which PFAS compounds move in the stream of commerce, and the bill’s proposed adoption of groundwater standards through the emergency rule process with zero public comment.
 
The Assembly leadership appears committed to passing AB 843 in some form. This may include a quick effort to generate a further amendment, as the Assembly will conclude its 2020 floor period on Thursday, February 20 th

The state Senate appears more skeptical of the legislation, though the Senate Natural Resources Committee did approve the bill last week on a 4-1 vote without the wastewater amendment. Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) was the lone dissenter.
EXHIBITORS - REGISTER NOW FOR MWFPA'S
SANITATION SEMINAR
May 12, 2020
Radisson Hotel, La Crosse, WI
Food safety remains one of the more important matters facing the food manufacturing industry. The MWFPA Food Science & Technology Committee is organizing a high-quality seminar which incorporates the principles of sanitary practices in food facilities. A complete agenda will be available soon.

Exhibitors welcome! Register below.
WI Assembly Panel Agrees On Ag Improvement Bills

The WI State Assembly Ag Committee passed Special Session Assembly Bills 6 and 7, which aim to boost dairy product exports and provides increases in the state's dairy processor grant program.

As part of the export policy, the state would invest $1 million through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to encourage more sales to other countries. An amendment from Rep. Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc) would expand that investment up to $5 million and provide the vegetable industry with exporting support.

The other bill would give the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protections (DATCP) an additional $1 million to grow its popular dairy processor grant program. Rep. Loren Oldenburg (R-Viroqua) offered an amended to direct the agency to prioritize grant allocations to smaller processing facilities, making up to 50 million pounds of finished product annually. Both were approved unanimously.
WI Groundwater Violations Reporting Bill Pulled From Panel Vote

Wisconsin AB 700, would require reporting of groundwater violations by WPDES permit holders even if the permit holder was not the cause of violations, was scheduled scheduled to be voted out of committee on Feb. 6 th . However, the measure was pulled from consideration.

MWFPA opposed the measure along with a coalition of industry and business groups. Read the coalition's concerns regarding the measure here.
WI Water Quality Task Force Bills Proceed

Of the thirteen bills from WI State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ Water Quality Task Force, two are being followed closely by MWFPA as they may impact food manufacturing:

  • AB 794 and companion SB 708 would establish a 21-day public comment period before WI DNR and the Department of Health Services propose groundwater standards under the Chapter 160 process. MWFPA President Jason Culotta spoke in favor of both bills at public hearings recently. Following a party-line vote to approve the bill in committee, AB 794 is scheduled for the Assembly floor on Tuesday, February 18th and it is anticipated that the Senate will also schedule the bill shortly.

  • AB 796 and companion SB 718 would establish a nitrogen reduction pilot project. An amendment was adopted to limit the grant funds provided under the bill to $50,000 per ag producer of which no more than 20% could be awarded to the collaborating university. Both bills passed unanimously out of committee unanimously and the full Assembly is scheduled to consider AB 796 on Tuesday, February 18th.
PFAS Bills Have Hearing Before MN Panels

The MN House Committee on Commerce has scheduled a hearing tomorrow on a PFAS packaging measure.

HF 3180 would ban the use of PFAS in food packaging beginning in January 2021. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Anne Claflin (DFL-South St. Paul).

Meanwhile, the MN House Environment and Natural Resources Committee has schedule a public hearing on a PFAS bill for Wednesday, February 19, 2020. That bill, HF 3182 , is too sponsored by Rep. Claflin and would classify all PFAS as a hazardous substance.

MWFPA is concerned about the unintended consequences associated with a broad hazardous designation and the potential liability for land applying biosolids by producers and utilization of water by food manufacturers that may contain trace amounts of PFAS.
MN Agency Considers Raising Water Quality Fees

The MN Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is laying groundwork for a 2021 budget request to boost several water quality fees in the state.

The Legislature must approve these fee changes. It appears that the GOP-run state Senate is not agreeable to fee proposal. Read more.
MN House Committee Passes Pesticide Ban

Sponsored by Rep. Jean Wagenius(DFL-Mpls), HF1255 would allow cities to enact local ordinances regarding pesticides. Specifically, cities could prohibit the use of pesticides lethal to pollinators and require those applying pesticides to affix warning signs to treated areas that pets and children should be kept off for 48 hours.

Those pesticides to be banned would be limited to those deemed lethal to pollinators by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which keeps such a list on its website.

The House Environment and Natural Resources Policy Committee approved the bill and referred it to the House Agriculture and Food Finance and Policy Division. It has no Senate companion.

MWFPA generally opposes such legislation because it creates a burdensome patchwork of regulations among various localities.

Published each fall, MWFPA's annual report summarizes the previous year's accomplishments and provides an overview of our financial status. It describes the work MWFPA has carried out over the preceding year and outlines some of the association's most significant achievements, challenges and programs.

MWFPA's 2019 Annual Report is now available for download. Find out more about the many ways in which the association is working to improve public policy in the Midwest for its members and assist the food manufacturing industry to grow and prosper. Click here.

Information and applications for scholarships offered by the Association can be downloaded from the MWFPA website, or by contacting Brian Elliott at: brian.elliott@mwfpa.org, or by calling 608-255-9946.

The MWFPA Scholarship may award up to $2,000 (depending on availability of funds) in scholarship money to deserving children of parents or guardians who are employees of MWFPA member companies. They must also be a high school senior or post-secondary student accepted into, or attending, any post-secondary school in the United States.

Last year twenty-six $1,000 scholarships were awarded under the program. MWFPA Scholarship applications will be accepted until March 1, 2020. The scholarships will be awarded in April, 2019.

Undergraduate students attending, or planning to attend, UW Madison, Platteville or River Falls are eligible for Friday/Weckel scholarships. Last year six scholarships were awarded totaling $9,000.
Applications are due by April 24, 2020. Last year six scholarships were awarded totaling $9,000.
Welcome Our New Members!

Alithya - A leader in strategy and digital technology, with 2,000 highly skilled professionals in Canada, the US, and Europe. Our integrated offering positions us as a leading digital technology partner, highly skilled in designing innovative and efficient digital solutions for business challenges.

JP Cullen - A fifth-generation family-owned full-service pre-construction and construction company headquartered in Janesville, Wisconsin. When food and beverage manufacturers need to add a new line or rearrange existing lines for optimization, you need a trusted partner that you can rely on to achieve your quality expectations while minimizing costly shutdown periods.

Mark Your Calendar: MWFPA Events You Won't Want To Miss
March 18, 2020: MWFPA Accident Investigation Seminar, Wilderness Resort, 511 E Adams St, Wisconsin Dells, WI, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Cost: $95 per person.

May 12, 2020 : MWFPA Sanitation Seminar, Raddisson Hotel, 200 Second Street South, 200 Harborview Plaza, La Crosse, WI. Exhibitors welcome.

May 27-28, 2020: MWFPA Spring Summit & Scramble, Trappers Turn Golf Club, 2955 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy, Wisconsin Dells, WI

December 1-3, 2020:   MWFPA 116th Annual Convention and 93rd Processing Crops Conference . Kalahari Resort & Convention Center, Wisconsin Dells, WI.
Other Educational Opportunities
February 20-21, 2020 : Canning Industry Water Treatment Seminar, Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells
1305 Kalahari Drive, Wisconsin Dells, WI. 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information and registration, click here.

March 4 - 6, 2020 : Introduction to Ammonia Refrigeration Systems , Pyle Center , 702 Langdon Street, Madison, WI. Anhydrous ammonia is a "natural refrigerant" that does not harm the ozone layer, has no global warming potential, and is popular because of its environmental friendliness and unmatched thermodynamic properties. This course will help you understand the benefits of ammonia through an exploration and comparison of other refrigerants, thermodynamics, refrigeration cycles, and related equipment. For more information, click here .

March 17-21, 2020 : PAS National Conference , Bloomington, MN. The PAS National Conference is a gathering of nearly 600 career-ready professional agricultural students, their collegiate advisors, and industry representatives. For more information contact: Steve Olson, National PAS - Fundraising Director/Industry Relations, Steve@NationalPAS.org Office: 612.355.1266, Cell: 651.270.3439

April 22-23, 2020 : Food Defense and Intentional Adulteration Rule Training , Minneapolis, MN. This two-day course hosted, by the Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI), provides the convenience and interaction of a single, in person class to more comprehensively learn the breadth and interconnections of IA Rule requirements including how to:

  • Prepare a Food Defense Plan
  • Conduct vulnerability assessments including the full FSPCA Intentional Adulteration Conducting Vulnerability Assessment Course (IAVA)
  • Identify and explain mitigation strategies
  • Conduct reanalysis

Click here for additional details and registration.

April 28-30, 2020: FDA/USDA Better Process Control School. Pyle Center , 702 Langdon Street, Madison, WI. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is pleased to support food and beverage manufacturers in the upper Midwest and across the nation by offering the FDA/USDA Better Process Control School. The Better Process Control School provides the food and beverage industry with qualified personnel in accordance with FDA and USDA regulations. All thermally processed low-acid or acidified foods which are packaged in hermetically-sealed containers must have certain critical operations supervised by a qualified person. Better Process Control School trains individuals to supervise these critical operations.
 
Arrangements have been made for content experts to support the industry via in-person, interactive lectures.
 
To facilitate travel, the training will be completed in 3 days. A full program schedule is here: https://foodsafety.wisc.edu/assets/BPCS_2020.pdf
 
A link to online registration and more information is here: https://foodsafety.wisc.edu/
Brian Elliott | Midwest Food Products Association | Ph: (608) 255-9946 | Fax: (608) 255-9838
Web: www.mwfpa.org