NAMA’s Chairman Paul Maass opened the meeting with comments about NAMA’s investment in the future of the milling industry.
“Investing in the future is the key to improving the consumption of grain-based foods and the key to the growth of our businesses,” said Maass.
He highlighted the need for consumer education about the health benefits of grain products and favorable public policy surrounding nutrition. He called on millers to invest in the future through product innovation, research and mentoring future generations of millers.
The leaders of the Grain Chain hosted a round table discussion of important nutrition issues. NAMA President Mary Waters was joined by Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer (CEO), American Bakers Association; Dana Peterson, CEO, National Association of Wheat Growers; and Judi Adams, president, Grain Foods Foundation and Wheat Foods Council, to review developments on regulatory activity involving nutrition. Key takeaways:
• Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act – the Grain Chain supports the bill that gives U.S. Department of Agriculture the authority to set science-based standards for foods sold in schools through rulemaking and following the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
• National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs – the Grain Chain has expressed concern to federal regulators that the programs do not follow federal guidelines outlined in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommends the consumption of both whole and enriched grain products.
• Nutrition Principles in Food Marketed to Children – the Principles do not include enriched and some whole grain as foods that can be marketed to children. The Grain Chain is advocating the principles be based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines.
• Gluten-Free Labeling – the Grain Chain agrees with the federal government definition of gluten-free but is concerned gluten allergies or gluten intolerance are health conditions not fully understood by consumers. Consumer education about gluten allergies and gluten intolerance is a priority for the group.
During the meeting, the NAMA board of directors approved the FY2012 budget; approved minor revisions to the bylaws, allowing electronic meetings of the board in the future; approved an investment policy for NAMA; seated the 2011-12 board of directors (go to
http://www.namamillers.org/FY2012_BOD.html for a list of the 2011-2012 board members).
The board also appointed the following NAMA staff members as non-elected officers of the association:
• Mary K. Waters, president.
• James A. Bair, vice-president.
• Terri Long, secretary and treasurer.
Special guest Dr. Dirk Maier, Professor and Department Head of the Grain Science and Industry Department at Kansas State University updated board members on the status of the new NAMA Instructor of Milling position. Maier reported the search committee has chosen three candidates to interview and expects the new instructor to be teaching in the classroom in the spring 2012 semester.
The Executive Committee held a strategic planning session led by NAMA President Mary Waters. The session reaffirmed the following mission and goals of the association. Go to http://www.namamillers.org to review the mission statement and goals of the association.
The Corn Division held a separate meeting to discuss key takeaways from the Corn Dry Milling conference. Bruce Roskens, PepsiCo/Quaker Oats, provided an update on developments with Syngenta, as well as the “Twin Row” research study. Actions and issues in the food safety arena were also covered, including proposed regulations about preventive food safety controls. Key takeaways:
• Acquiring samples of the Syngenta’s 3272 Amylase Corn have not been successful.
• NAMA is advising the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that FDA guidance about preventive food safety controls take into account food safety systems and programs already in place in milling facilities today and that any new guidance consider the economic and operational impact on the mill.
The Oat Division held a separate meeting to discuss research, sustainability, food safety regulation harmonization and gluten-free labeling. Key takeaways:
• The NA-Core oat genome research project continues to make progress in the mapping of the oat genome and should be celebrated.
• Food safety regulation harmonization between Canada and the U.S. is critical to continued successful trade between the two countries.
• An oat sustainability statement will be finalized and provided to NAMA members for distribution to customers.