First Lady Michelle Obama Addresses GMA Science Forum - GMA Strongly Supports First Lady’s Goal of Solving Childhood Obesity within a Generation
Speaking to more than 300 food, beverage and consumer products manufacturers at the GMA Science Forum in Washington, D.C., March 16, First Lady Michelle Obama thanked the industry for all it has done to combat obesity and asked GMA members to move even faster to create and market healthier foods that have less fat, salt and sugar and more nutrients as one key component of solving childhood obesity.
Gary Rodkin, CEO, ConAgra Foods, First Lady Michelle Obama, Pamela Bailey, president and CEO, GMA, and Richard G. Wolford, chairman, president and CEO of Del Monte Foods Company, and chairman of the GMA Board of Directors, met with the First Lady before her speech.
“I'm here today to urge all of you to move faster and to go farther, because the truth is we don't have a moment to waste—because a baby born today could be less than a decade away from showing the first signs of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, if he or she is obese as a child,” she said. “We need you not just to tweak around the edges, but to entirely rethink the products that you're offering, the information that you provide about these products, and how you market those products to our children,” said Obama. Read her complete remarks here.
"And I also know that we can’t solve this problem by passing a bunch of laws in Washington. I’ve talked to a lot of experts about this issue, and not a single one has said that the solution is for the federal government to tell people what to do. But what we can do is that we can help families make changes that fit with their budgets, with their schedules, with their needs, and with their tastes. What we can do is bring together all of us -- governors, mayors, doctors, nurses, businesses, non-profits, educators, parents, all of us -- to tackle this challenge once and for all. And what we can do is finally make this national public health threat a national priority," said Obama.
Richard G. Wolford, chairman, president and CEO of Del Monte Foods Company, and chairman of the GMA Board of Directors, met with and introduced the First Lady at the conference and issued the following statement in response to Mrs. Obama's remarks.
"GMA and its member companies share First Lady Michelle Obama’s goal to solve the problem of childhood obesity. And we agree on how to get there. Our industry is an enthusiastic supporter of Mrs. Obama’s ‘Let’s Move!’ initiative and its goal of solving childhood obesity within a generation.
In recent years, our companies have reduced calories, sugar, fat and sodium in more than 10,000 products. They have also enhanced the nutritional profile of many products with the addition of whole grains, fiber or other nutrients and created the informative and convenient 100-calorie pack.
"Food and beverage companies have changed the way they advertise and market their products - children under 12 now see significantly fewer food, beverage and restaurant ads on television. And at the same time, they are seeing more ads for soup, juice, fruit and vegetables.
"Last October, our industry helped launch the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF), an unprecedented collection of food manufacturers, retailers, foundations and non-governmental organizations whose goal is to reverse obesity, especially childhood obesity, by 2015.
"And, we are committed to working with the FDA and USDA to ensure that industry makes the best use of the front of the product label to provide clear and useful science and fact-based nutrition information to parents and other consumers.
"GMA’s member companies are committed to providing parents and children with healthy choices, promoting healthy eating habits, enhancing nutrition knowledge, and supporting new opportunities for physical activity at school, in the work place and in our neighborhoods.
"Everyone has a role to play, including government, if we are going to meet the First Lady’s goal of ending childhood obesity within a generation. We look forward to continuing our work with the First Lady, the Obama Administration and Congress to help all Americans build and maintain a healthy diet.
More detailed information on the Lets Move! campaign can be found at www.letsmove.gov.
[ back to top ]
GMA Supports Giving USDA Authority to Set Science-Based Standards for Foods Sold During the School Day
GMA Vice President of Federal Affairs Scott Faber issued the following statement on March 24 regarding the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry’s mark-up of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010:
“The Grocery Manufacturers Association strongly supports efforts to feed many more children through school lunch and breakfast programs and to increase the number of healthy choices in the cafeteria. We share Senator Lincoln's priorities for a stronger Child Nutrition Act, including increased access to the school meals programs, science-based standards for foods sold in schools, more healthy foods available in the cafeteria, and more education about healthy diets.
“In particular, we believe that Congress should give USDA clear authority to set science-based standards for foods sold in schools during the school day. The school environment is a special environment, and USDA should be given the power to establish nutrition standards for competitive foods. We believe that the school cafeteria line can be on the front lines of feeding children while ending childhood obesity within a generation. We look forward to working with Congress on these provisions.”
[ back to top ]
GMA Sanitation Group Clarifies and Promotes Sanitary Equipment Design Principles
Improved equipment design and sanitation can help reduce the incidence of foodborne illness and product contamination. To aid these efforts, the GMA Sanitation Working Group has developed the Equipment Design Checklist for Low-Moisture Foods. The checklist is specifically designed for low-moisture product operations, to provide further guidance on how to apply the hygienic design principles to enhance sanitation effectiveness and minimize potential microbial hazards as well as chemical hazards from processing equipment. The checklist is written in an Excel format and includes an automated scoring summary feature.
The GMA Sanitation Working Group consists of sanitation and food safety experts from a number of member companies, including Kraft Foods, Campbell Soup Company, General Mills, Heinz, Nestlé, ConAgra, Kellogg Company, Sara Lee, Cadbury, Mars, Land O’Lakes and Bama. The checklist has been reviewed by the GMA Microbiological Safety Committee and approved by the Science and Regulatory Affairs Council. In addition, the Sanitation Working Group has initiated efforts to develop a Facility Design Checklist to complement the Equipment Design Checklist.
The Equipment Design Checklist for Low-Moisture Foods and other valuable scientific resources are available on the GMA Web site at http://www.gmaonline.org/science/index.cfm.
For more information, contact Yuhuan Chen.
[ back to top ]
GMA Task Force Develops Comprehensive Nut Safety Tool Kit for Industry
In response to the increased incidence of Salmonella outbreaks associated with low-moisture foods, GMA formed a Salmonella Control Task Force in 2007, which developed a guidance document for the control of Salmonella when manufacturing low-moisture foods.
To specifically assist the nut industry, at the direction of the GMA Science and Regulatory Affairs Council, GMA launched a second initiative in April 2009, targeted at building upon the Salmonella guidance for low-moisture foods and developing a comprehensive handbook for peanut and tree nut shellers, hullers, processors and manufacturers. The GMA Nut Safety Task Force was comprised of a number of GMA member companies and members from nearly 10 other trade associations, including the American Peanut Council, the Peanut and Tree Nut Processors Association, the American Council for Food Safety and Quality, the American Peanut Shellers Association, the National Pecan Shellers Association, the Administrative Committee for Pistachios, the California Pistachio Research Board, the Western Pistachio Association, the California Walnut Board and the Almond Board of California.
The comprehensive manual, Industry Handbook for Safe Processing of Nuts, provides guidance material for all of the nut industry to utilize in developing stronger food safety measures and programs relevant to their sector. The handbook is comprised of four chapters, with 15 appendices and three addenda: Industry Handbook for the Safe Shelling of Peanuts, Good Agricultural Practices for California Pistachio Growers, and Good Agricultural Practices for Almond Growers. Each chapter in the handbook is divided into a number of sections, providing detailed guidance on management responsibility, process validation, segregated hygiene area assessment and environmental monitoring, allergen control, other preventive controls including prerequisite programs, and principles of equipment design.
The handbook and its addenda can be accessed at the GMA website http://www.gmaonline.org/science/index.cfm.
For more information, contact Yuhuan Chen.
[ back to top ]
CPG Industry Brings Strong Voice to PTIN Export Certification Round Table
The Partnership Training Institute Network (PTIN) for food safety within Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a unique partnership formed in response to APEC goals to further strengthen food safety standards and practices while facilitating trade. The PTIN enhances existing resources across government, industry, and academia to create a network of institutes with the capacity to conduct training and develop training modules in international best practices in food safety.
GMA and the Australia Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) provide food industry leadership on the steering committee. The latest PTIN event, the Export Certification Roundtable, covened February 25-26 in Australia with the goal of developing a regional approach to export certification and facilitating important dialogue between the industry and key regulators from the APEC region.
GMA and AFGC worked with the U.S. and Australian governments to coordinate the agenda and speakers to ensure industry views were taken into account.
This workshop included more than 80 participants representing 20 of the APEC countries and 22 industry representatives from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the U.S. who provided input on the practical issues of export certification in the APEC region and how the certification system may be improved. Several recommendations emerged from the workshop including:
· The need for APEC economies to review certification requirements to reflect workshop discussions and concerns;
· The need for technical assistance to avoid unnecessary certification;
· Broader utilization of the Codex Generic export certificate by APEC nations;
· Enhancing the use of electronic certification in the APEC region;
· Additional work by the Codex Committee on Food Import Export Inspection and Certification Systems (CCFICS) on appropriate attestations for export certification.
In May, PTIN will deliver an “Expert Working Group” to be held at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. The meeting will bring together food safety training experts in the APEC economies to discuss available training tools and appropriate deliver mechanisms in order to successfully launch the first reproducible training module on Supply Chain Management in October.
For questions or more information about the next meeting in May, contact Peggy Rochette.
[ back to top ]
GMA Gathers Top CPG Industry Scientists at Science Forum
On March 16-18 in Washington, D.C., GMA gathered more than 300 of the industry’s top scientists and regulatory experts to assess critical developments that are impacting their companies, consumers and the public health at the GMA Science Forum.
The highlight of the event was an address by First Lady Michelle Obama on solving childhood obesity within a generation and what the CPG industry can do to help. For more coverage of that event, click here.
In 2010, the GMA Science Forum was open to non-members for the first time and this year, attendees also had the choice of participating in two targeted educational tracks, the first focusing on economic adulteration and the second on health and wellness. Following tradition, the Science Forum was also a meeting place for 14 of the science-focused GMA committees and working groups, bringing together top-tier scientific, manufacturing and regulatory experts to share successful practices and develop new ways to address common goals.
The following is a brief sampling of the conference content and events. For more information and to download available presentations, visit the conference Web site.
"Historically we have had a well-defined, regulated framework of target compounds, residue limits and specific commodities to address. With the increased focus on economic adulteration we are now seeking to test a broader range of products and potential compounds of interest, many of which are natural products and not so easily targeted as common pesticide and vet drug residues,” said Tim Jenkins, Ph.D., Business Development Manager, Chemical Analysis Business Operations, Waters Corporation.
Economic Adulteration: It’s Not Just Economics
This session reported on the key aspects of a new initiative from the GMA Science and Education Foundation and A.T. Kearney designed to help the industry combat the growing threat of consumer product fraud. Speakers Jennifer Thomas, director, division of enforcement, Office of Compliance, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Tim Jenkins, Ph.D., business development manager, chemical analysis business operations, Waters Corporation and Jim Morehouse, senior partner, A.T. Kearney, Inc., addressed
deterring, detecting and managing incidents of economic adulteration, as well as the agency perspective on economically motivated adulteration as well as industry testing methodologies for confirming product authenticity.
The Importance of Communication in Setting Science Policy
Douglas L. Weed, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., DLW Consulting Services, LLC
In this session, Douglas L. Weed, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., DLW Consulting Services, LLC, addressed some of the steps industry must take in order to reinstate the use of sound scientific principles and practices in policymaking. Weed told attendees that a number of changing influences, including the reliance on single scientific studies rather than weight of evidence from the entire body of scientific research, have laid siege to the credibility of science in the consumer products industry. To combat this siege, effective communication is more important than ever in setting science policy, bolstering consumer confidence and reassuring the public that industry is a primary caretaker of public health and wellness.
[ back to top ]
GMA Member Committee Meetings
The Science Forum is one of the only times a year that certain committees meet for face to face discussions. Clockwise from top left, the Science and Regulatory Executive Committee, the Nutrition, Health and Labeling Committee, and the Process and Emerging Technology Committee. At bottom left, GMA and FDA meet to open a dialogue between the organizations about practical preventive controls and appropriate use of fees to strengthen science-based food safety programs.
GMA’s 2010 Food Claims and Litigation Conference Highlights
GMA’s 2010 Food Claims and Litigation Conference was held February 23 – 25 in Austin, Texas, and was once again an overwhelming success.
|Scott Rickman, Esq., associate general counsel, Del Monte Foods Company, delivered an update on the growing threat of state consumer fraud claims and successful strategies for responding.|
Despite a surprise snow storm that hit Texas that week, the conference brought together more than 200 representatives of food and beverage companies, product liability defense lawyers and related vendors to learn about the latest litigation trends impacting the industry. This year’s program covered a wide variety of topics, including recent developments in product liability, emerging trends in foodborne illness litigation, micro-contaminants, flavoring litigation, labeling and regulatory issues within the industry, and the options available to companies when faced with a recall.
The GMA Claims Program would like to thank all of the speakers, sponsors and attendees for making the conference a success. Please contact David Herman with any questions or comments about either this year’s or next year’s conference.
[ back to top ]
CPG Award Submissions Demonstrate Innovative Ways GMA Members Move the CPG Industry Forward
Plan to submit your entry early for GMA’s seventh annual CPG Award for Innovation and Creativity. Sponsored each year by the GMA Associate Member Council, the award salutes the innovation occurring daily at CPG companies. Past winners include Kettle Foods, Inc., The Hershey Company, The Clorox Company, Unilever, Time Warner Retail Sales and Marketing, Campbell Soup Company and Kraft Foods, Inc. Deadline for all entries: June 11. The award will presented at the GMA Executive Conference, August 28-31, in Colorado Springs, CO. For more information, visit the CPG Award web site.
[ back to top ]
GMA Appoints Todd Turner Vice President of Industry Affairs
On March 16, GMA President and CEO Pamela G. Bailey announced the appointment of Todd A. Turner to the position of vice president of industry affairs.
“I am pleased to welcome Todd to the GMA team,” said Bailey. “He is a veteran of the retail and CPG industries with a proven track record of providing first-rate member service as an association executive. He is well-equipped to help food, beverage and consumer product manufacturers deliver on their promise to provide safe, healthy and affordable products to consumers.”
Prior to joining GMA, Turner was vice president of membership and urban affairs at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI). Primary achievements in the course of his 14-year career at FMI include increasing dues revenue by 40 percent, generating $1.7 million in additional revenue by establishing an associate member program, and developing an industry-wide supplier diversity program.
His previous experience also includes stints at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a think tank focused on the study of issues affecting African American families, and as a pharmaceutical sales representative for Merck and Pfizer.
“I am thrilled to be joining the Grocery Manufacturers Association and look forward to working with the staff and member companies to optimize customer and channel collaboration, which is central to GMA’s mission and of critical importance to retailers and consumers alike,” said Turner.
Turner holds a Master of Public Administration from American University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia.
In his new position, Turner will have responsibility for the day-to-day operations of GMA’s Industry Affairs Department and will lead the association’s vanguard efforts in its sales and supply chain and technology practices. He will report to Stephen Sibert, senior vice president of industry affairs.
[ back to top ]