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From the Association By Nancy Foster, President, National Renderers Association Looking Ahead in 2017 As I write this column, it is early January and snowing with near-zero temperatures outside. The NaƟonal Renderers AssociaƟon (NRA) wishes everyone a prosperous and healthy New Year. The coming year offers a lot to look forward to. This year will bring interesƟng and perhaps unexpected rendering challenges to navigate as well as a new presidenƟal administraƟon and Congress. OpportuniƟes will come up so the rendering industry must be sharp to turn them into advantages. Agriculture is cyclical so beƩer Ɵmes will eventually come with stronger prices and improved returns. The challenge is to weather the 2017 headwinds unƟl economics improve. Looking into 2017, NRA’s programs and staff will focus on improving opportuniƟes for renderers and their business partners. The associaƟon’s rendering members represent over 95 percent of producƟon in the United States (US) and Canada. In addiƟon, NRA’s allied members provide important goods and services to the rendering industry. The future of each is linked to the other. This year, NRA’s programs and projects will conƟnue to carry out the association’s mission “to advocate for a sustainable food chain, public health, and the environment through the producƟon and markeƟng of rendered products and services.” This mission was adopted recently as part of NRA’s 2020 Strategic Plan, which is driving the associaƟon’s work in 2017 through five key programs: industry informaƟon, scientific services, international market development, legislaƟve advocacy, and communicaƟons and educaƟon. NRA operates by the maxim that all it does must add value to rendering by increasing business opportuniƟes and prevenƟng harm and loss of income for members that can come from many places, such as government regulaƟon or legislaƟon, media coverage, acƟvist aƩacks, a new disease outbreak, or customer concerns. Industry Information, Science, and Regulation NRA’s Scientific Services continues to closely track implementaƟon of the Food Safety ModernizaƟon Act (FSMA). This year will be the first full year the rendering industry must comply with the new and extensive regulaƟons so conƟnued training and guidance for members on how to abide with this major law is a high priority. NRA will closely monitor the Food and Drug AdministraƟon’s (FDA’s) inspecƟon process and work with the agency to resolve problems that may arise. FDA said FSMA inspecƟons are not intended to be puniƟve but instead focus on improvements where needed. NRA will compile experiences of its members so please advise the associaƟon of any difficulƟes with FSMA inspecƟons so NRA can ensure government inspectors comply with the requirements of the new law and the agency’s own implemenƟng regulaƟons. The Animal Protein Producers Industry (APPI) will offer its annual Rendering Code of PracƟce seminar in June to train prevenƟve control qualified individuals (PCQIs) who are required under FSMA. With over six months of field experience in FSMA implementaƟon, parƟcipants will learn about actual approaches used by inspectors since renderers will have the opportunity to share experiences. This will help NRA staff learn what adjustments may be needed. In addiƟon, NRA agreed to FDA’s request for a number of FSMA inspectors to aƩend this APPI training to increase the chances that industry and regulators are working from a similar knowledge base about FSMA legal and regulatory requirements. The Rendering Code of PracƟce will be updated to fully reflect FDA’s final FSMA regulaƟons and presented at the APPI training in June. NRA is also working with the American Feed Industry AssociaƟon (AFIA) to ensure its updated Safe Food/ Safe Feed program is aligned with the new code of pracƟce. NRA will conƟnue to focus on sustainability this year. EducaƟon will be a main focus to allow member companies to use general informaƟon NRA has developed and tailor it for their own use. This profile will also help other industries and policymakers understand the important role the rendering industry has always played in making the food system more sustainable. This year, NRA will again work with the American AssociaƟon of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) as they conƟnue revising nearly all feed ingredient definiƟons. AAFCO recently focused on fat definiƟons and will eventually evaluate protein definiƟons to meet standards of the FDA Amendments Act that was passed by Congress several years before FSMA was enacted. NRA vigilantly monitors AAFCO meeƟngs because when rendered products are discussed, acƟvists oŌen demand that sick or dead animals be prohibited from rendering as they allegedly create unsafe animal feed. Since FDA officials and feed manufacturers aƩend these meeƟngs, NRA is there to speak up about the food safety and public health importance of rendering. NRA uses this opportunity to regularly reassure AAFCO about the safety and effecƟveness of the rendering process. In 2017, NRA and the Fats and Proteins Research FoundaƟon will conƟnue to coordinate closely on challenges facing the rendering industry. Research can provide important scienƟfic knowledge necessary to help the industry or to convince a regulator, customer, or skepƟcal reporter. Growing Exports and Trade Since almost 20 percent of US rendered products are exported, NRA’s internaƟonal market development program plays an important role in the industry. Its goals are to increase foreign market access for rendered products and promote them to customers overseas. Even though the high-valued US dollar now challenges exports, foreign markets are built and kept over Ɵme based on quality, safety, reliability, and service. In 2017, NRA will work to grow access in a number of foreign markets – such as China, Mexico, Thailand, and South America – while maintaining the current market for used 20 February 2017 Render www.rendermagazine.com


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