It’s hard to believe that fall is upon us. I am sure many of you are gearing up for or are already neck-deep in wild game processing, depending on where you live in the country. I am looking forward to the milder weather and the opportunity to sit in a tree stand on a cool crisp morning, but there is much to do before that happens. 

I want to update you on the progress of some of the regulatory matters that Nelson, AAMP’s outreach specialist, and I have been working on. We just received the final version of the Foreign Materials Best Practices paper that has been a work in progress for a few years now. AAMP has worked with several other industry groups to prepare this document and present it to FSIS as an alternative to a new directive on the subject. The need for this was brought about by the increase in recalls for foreign material contamination over the last several years. There have been many meetings with FSIS, as well as many versions of the document being passed back and forth for review until this final version has been produced to meet everyone’s, including FSIS’, approval. Nelson and I will be working on a version that will give members all the information they need and remove the items that do not pertain to them.

On the Revised Appendix A & B front, AAMP has partnered with a number of trade associations to form a working group that includes meat science individuals from academia - both present and past, and other industry experts. The working group is identifying the flaws that are seen in Appendix A & B from 2017, and are looking to offer better science and more realistic expectations for industry to follow to produce safe, wholesome products. AAMP and its industry partners, along with some of the working group, held an initial meeting with FSIS’ staff in late July to lay the groundwork for the main meeting that will hopefully take place later in the fall between all parties. We were really encouraged by the meeting and the openness of FSIS staff to the work that had already been completed. We have high hopes for our future meetings as we work to find common ground on an Appendix A & B that is a realistic working document for small processors. We will keep you informed as we continue this work. Remember that you can still use the original versions of Appendix A & B until March 2019. We hope to have a new document for all of you before that time.

We continue to work on the specific needs of individual plants, in addition to a number of items such as humane handling and interventions. I believe we have a good working relationship with FSIS and have hopes for seeing some of the issues changed.