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Dairy industry works around disruptions from snow, floods

March 17, 2023

MADISON, Wis. — Volatile weather conditions in California and the Northeast over the past week have resulted in power outages, road closures, evacuations and some damages.

A nor’easter brought up to three feet of snow to some areas of New England this week, with some concerns regarding delays in milk pickups and transport due to poor road conditions, reports USDA’s Dairy Market News.

Shaw Farm, a century-old dairy farm in Dracut, Massachusetts, that also sells bottled milk and ice cream made on-site, lost some of its cows due to a barn that collapsed under the weight of the snow.

“Thankfully, no staff members were hurt. Sadly, we did lose a few of our animals. We are extremely grateful to everyone who came to our aid this afternoon including our staff, family, fellow farmers, neighbors, friends and the Dracut Police and Fire Department,” Shaw Farm posted Tuesday on social media, adding that it still was open for regular business and selling its milk and ice cream.

Agri-Mark cooperative, which has members throughout New England and plants in Vermont, Massachusetts and New York, worked around the severe conditions to minimize delays in pickups.

“We had minimal disruptions over the last couple of days thanks to our dedicated milk haulers and their collaborative work with our field staff and transportation teams,” says Amber Sheridan, director of corporate communications for Agri-Mark. “Many haulers adjusted milk assembly and delivery times to avoid the worst of the storm. We appreciate all that our haulers do for us, especially during such an intense storm.”

Meanwhile in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency to support storm response efforts for dozens of counties impacted by flooding. Last Friday, the White House approved a Presidential Emergency Declaration authorizing federal assistance to support the state and local response to continuous storms impacting much of the state, which were forecasted to continue through mid-March.

“We are grateful for President Biden’s swift action to provide more resources and assistance to Californians reeling from back-to-back storms,” Newsom says. “We also thank all the heroic first responders working tirelessly to save lives in these dangerous and challenging conditions. California will continue to work day and night with local, state and federal partners to protect and support communities.”

As the most recent atmospheric river has continued to cause flooding, high winds and power outages, several California counties have announced evacuation orders. As recently as Wednesday, Tulare County Sheriff deputies were going door to door to inform people living in certain areas of the county that they needed to get out.

Dairy Market News this week reported weather events and road closures in California impacted volumes at some milk plants.

“The Central Valley area contacts report balanced milk volumes for bottling and production needs, while other stakeholders report tighter availability of milk volumes due to weather events causing road closures in parts of California. Contacts report snow in the northern part of the state causing delivery problems and some unplanned downtime at plants,” Dairy Market News says.

“Availability of condensed skim milk is mixed,” Dairy Market News adds. “Some stakeholders report balanced volumes, while others report tighter volumes from weather events causing road closures in parts of California.”

CMN


Dairy industry adds capacity, invests in product innovation

March 17, 2023

Editor’s note: Plants in Progress is a special segment spotlighting new facilities and expansion in the U.S. dairy sector — from initial groundbreaking to full operation and everything in between.

By Alyssa Mitchell

MADISON, Wis. — Product innovation is spurring capacity increases and infrastructure upgrades at dairy facilities throughout the United States. From specialized dry ingredients to frozen novelties to state-of-the-art research hubs, the dairy industry is investing in its future.

And the future looks bright, as the University of Wisconsin system gears up to debut new, revamped education and research facilities in Madison and River Falls while work also continues on a new Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE) at the University of Idaho.

West Coast companies including Darigold, Hilmar Cheese and Valley Milk are ramping up capacity for innovative ingredients while Wisconsin’s Decatur Dairy, Emmi Roth, Renards and Saputo are expanding to meet ever-increasing consumer appetites for quality cheese. Not to mention investments from companies in other states including Valley Queen Cheese, Great Lakes Cheese and Leprino Foods.

Fluid beverage innovation continues to evolve at Cayuga Milk Ingredients, Danone and O-AT-KA, while Perry’s Ice Cream is expanding to accommodate the growing demand for frozen novelties.

On the supplier side, Nelson-Jameson is investing in enhanced distribution capabilities while GEA boosts infrastructure in response to growing demand for separators, decanters, valves, pumps and homogenizers.

Please read on for more on these Plants in Progress ...

Cayuga Milk Ingredients, Auburn, New York

Cayuga Milk Ingredients (CMI) late last year announced a significant expansion to its Auburn, New York, facility. Construction is expected to begin this spring, and the project will add an aseptic processor, bottling and packaging line, allowing CMI to produce finished products for the extended-shelf-life beverage market. Additionally, improvements will be made with expanded wastewater treatment facilities, developing stormwater retention, trucking and parking enrichments, and utility upgrades.

The high-speed bottling line will have the ability to produce up to 150,000 gallons of milk-based drinks per day. Products will be palletized and then stored on-site in a warehouse using state-of-the-art Automate Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) technology.

The expansion is predicted to create 70 full-time positions as well as additional construction jobs and retention of the current staff of 91.

This expansion into bottling is a new venture for Cayuga and will help meet the demand for shelf-stable contract manufacturing demanded by the marketplace.

The company also is investing in additional raw milk receiving with two more bays to enable 80 tractor trailers to pass through the doors per day between deliveries and loadout to customers. This will ensure CMI can continue to accept fresh local milk and efficiently send out nutritional product.

“Cayuga is strong and profitable, with a long history of growth and transition. We’re looking forward to the future with ambitious projects, like aseptic, that let us build on the dependable people and progress we have developed over the last eight years,” says Neil Rejman, board chairman of CMI.

• Danone North America, Jacksonville, Florida

Danone North America recently announced it will invest up to $65 million over the next two years to create a new bottle production line in Jacksonville, Florida. The investment will support Danone North America’s long-term growth strategy and will deliver key benefits across the U.S. business, including advancing operational excellence, enabling flexibility in bottle design, accelerating the company’s sustainability goals and driving cost efficiencies.

“We are delighted to announce this investment in our North American business, which will allow us to capitalize on consumer demand in key beverage categories including coffee creamers, plant-based creamers and ready-to-drink coffee, while also supporting our long-term growth agenda,” says Shane Grant, group deputy CEO, Danone Americas.

The $65 million investment will increase production of several of Danone’s coffee and creamer brands in the United States, including International Delight, Silk and SToK. It also serves to meet consumer demand in these categories while supporting the company’s sustainability goal by reducing overall water consumption, decreasing carbon emissions and accelerating the company’s goal of packaging circularity.

The expansion will create up to 40 new full-time jobs with competitive wages and benefits. New employees will be eligible for Danone North America’s parental bonding leave policy, enabling all manufacturing employees with one year of tenure to take up to 18 weeks of paid time off after the birth or adoption of a child.

“We are thrilled to be investing in the people and economy of Jacksonville, creating 40 new jobs in addition to supporting our approximately 110 existing employees, all with competitive wages and benefits,” says Mike Sloboda, Danone North America’s chief operations officer. “This investment will allow us to better serve our customers and operate our business in an even more efficient and sustainable way.”

• Darigold Inc., Pasco, Washington

Darigold Inc. last year broke ground on a new production facility in Pasco, Washington. When fully operational, the $600 million facility will process approximately 8 million pounds of milk per day from more than 100 dairy farms in surrounding communities. Darigold expects the facility to be operational by early 2024 and plans to hire about 200 employees.

Chris Arnold, vice president and head of communication for Darigold, says the project is “full speed ahead,” and construction is coming along nicely.
The Pasco facility will be outfitted with two specialized milk dryers and two packaging lines for powdered milk products or “premium proteins,” two butter churns, two bulk butter packaging lines for commercial and institutional customers, and five consumer butter packaging lines.

When fully operational, the facility will have the capacity to produce approximately 175 million pounds of butter and nearly 280 million pounds of powdered milk annually.

• Decatur Dairy, Brodhead, Wisconsin

Decatur Dairy and members of the Decatur Swiss Cheese Co. Cooperative in August officially broke ground on a $6 million cheese plant addition in Brodhead, Wisconsin. The 24,000-square-foot expansion will add packaging,
curing and warehousing capacity.

Coinciding with the expansion is a change to the dairy’s business structure. The co-op previously owned the land and building, while the dairy owned the equipment and handled the marketing. Now a new company — Decatur Cheese Plant LLC, a 50/50 joint venture between the dairy and co-op — will own the building and land. The dairy will continue to handle marketing and will own the equipment, while the co-op members have secured a 20-year agreement for their milk to go to the plant.

According to Steve Stettler, Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker and owner of Decatur Dairy, the building expansion is totally enclosed, work continues on the inside and the company is looking at a July occupancy.

“It is a much-needed addition to the facility to meet the needs of our customers’ growth,” he says.

• Emmi Roth USA, Stoughton, Wisconsin

Emmi Roth is continuing construction on its new 134,000-square-foot headquarters and cheese conversion facility in Stoughton, Wisconsin. The new facility will support Emmi Roth’s acquisition of the Athenos business, including the leading Feta brand in America. With the acquisition came the need for more conversion and distribution capabilities, the company notes.

The facility will add approximately 100 new local jobs for distribution and cheese conversion. Conversion allows Emmi Roth to provide different packaging options to customers and consumers based on their needs — which may be a cup, bag, chunk, wedge or other form.

The new facility is being constructed with a number of sustainable features to support the company’s goal to achieve net zero by 2050 and is expected to reduce transportation lanes by 49%, reduce trips per year by 26% and provide a significant reduction in emissions related to transportation.

Concrete finishers, ironworkers, roofers, masons and other skilled tradespeople have been busy working on the new facility. Recent activities include the final slab-on-grade pour and completion of the roof installation for the cold storage facility. Erection of the cooling tower platform on the engine room roof also has started.

Crews also have been preparing for additional underground work to begin. Underground work includes items such as floor drains, electrical conduits and floor boxes that need to be in place before the concrete slabs are poured.

Emmi Roth plans to begin hiring employees for the conversion facility this summer. Project completion is anticipated by the end of the year. When completed, it will become the new Emmi Roth headquarters, housing the corporate office team currently based in Fitchburg, Wisconsin. Other Emmi Roth locations include Monroe, Platteville and Seymour, Wisconsin.

• GEA, Janesville, Wisconsin

GEA in November marked the official start of construction on its new repair, logistics, assembly, production and training facility in Janesville, Wisconsin. The groundbreaking ceremony of GEA’s first greenfield site in North America in 50 years was attended by company representatives and officials from the state of Wisconsin and city of Janesville.

GEA will invest more than $20 million in the new site in response to growing demand for separators, decanters, valves, pumps and homogenizers, which are at the heart of many industrial production processes. The 85,000-square-foot building is scheduled for completion in late 2023.
In addition to modern office space, the facility will house a training center for customers and employees. The remaining space will be used for the repair of mechanical equipment and logistics.

Located approximately 80 miles west of Milwaukee and 40 miles south of Madison, the new GEA facility will create more than 70 jobs.

“The Janesville facility will bring us closer to our growing Midwest customer base, and it will enable us to meet the growing demand for our products,” says Azam Owaisi, CEO, GEA North America. “As the new facility will have production capabilities to finalize separator, decanter, valve and pump assembly, GEA will fully meet the ‘Built in America’ mandates if required. We would like to thank the city of Janesville leadership for their cooperation and support.”

• Great Lakes Cheese Co., Abilene, Texas, and Franklinville, New York

Great Lakes Cheese Co. earlier this year opened a new plant in Abilene, Texas, its ninth manufacturing facility. The newest packaging conversion plant has 160 employee-owners, with 100 more planned to join by late summer.

To celebrate the opening, the Epprecht family, management team and department leaders hosted a special event in January for customers, suppliers, key partners, Abilene employee-owners and the Abilene community. Great Lakes hosted several different activities including a Cheese 101 experience with local high school students, interactive culture and team-building activities for new employee-owners, and meet and greets in the community with local organizations and the public.

Great Lakes Cheese also is building a new manufacturing and packaging plant in Franklinville, New York. With a capital investment of more than $500 million, the project is the largest infrastructure investment in the company’s history and will nearly double the size of its current workforce in the Southern Tier of New York.

The new plant will replace the existing facility in Cuba, New York, upon completion. Although the Cuba facility will cease operations with Great Lakes Cheese, discussions are underway to identify possible future uses for the site, company officials say.

The Franklinville project is on track to potentially open later this year to start limited production in 2024, and it will be completed in early 2025, company officials say.

• Hilmar Cheese Co., Dodge City, Kansas

Hilmar Cheese Co. is building a new state-of-the-art cheese and whey protein processing plant in Dodge City, Kansas. The new facility is expected to create 250 new jobs and represents more than $600 million in capital investment.

The first walls were lifted into place earlier this month. Site work, underground conduits and foundation construction continue, company officials say.
“We are very excited about this new facility and being part of the Dodge City community,” says David Ahlem, president and CEO, Hilmar Cheese Co.

Hilmar is recruiting for key positions in Dodge City, including maintenance, safety, training, human resources and operations management. More information about open positions can be found on the company website at hilmarcheese.com/careers.
The facility is expected to be operational in 2024.

• Leprino Foods Co., Lubbock, Texas

Denver-based Leprino Foods Co. late last year broke ground on a new 850,000-square-foot state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in East Lubbock, Texas. Supported by world-class food safety, operations, training and maintenance programs, as well as monitored and controlled through leading-edge automation and instrumentation, the facility expands Leprino’s existing domestic network of manufacturing facilities.

The plant will be constructed in two phases. Phase one construction will be completed in late 2024 and operational in early 2025. Phase two is slated to be completed by early 2026. This investment will result in $10.6 billion over the next 10 years for the state of Texas. The plant will be supplied by regional dairies and roughly 200 milk trucks per day to produce more than 1 million pounds of cheese daily. Other products that will be produced at this facility include dairy ingredients such as whey and lactose.

•Nelson-Jameson, Jerome, Idaho

Nelson-Jameson last fall held a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off the building of its new distribution facility in Jerome, Idaho. The state-of-the-art facility will be the company’s most technologically advanced distribution center to date and will include approximately 1.5 million cubic feet of combined storage, office space, refrigerated and frozen storage areas, along with a service and maintenance area.

“Dairy is Idaho’s No. 1 agricultural commodity, and it’s the third-largest producer of milk in our country. Nelson-Jameson’s expansion in Idaho will strategically support the growth trajectory of the dairy industry in the Pacific Northwest region and add additional job opportunities,” says Mike Rindy, president, Nelson-Jameson. “We are proud to be making such a significant investment in this region, and we are prioritizing the environment as we build out our new state-of-the-art facility.”

Reducing carbon footprint and improving sustainability for the dairy industry is an important goal for the company. Therefore, the new distribution center has been designed to include the latest architectural energy savings tactics, including insulated concrete tilt wall panels, all LED lighting, occupancy sensors for all lighting, high-efficiency HVAC systems, electronically controlled warehouse ventilation and use of high-efficiency warehouse storage systems.

The 45,000-square-foot building is tentatively scheduled for completion at the end of this year. Peterson Brothers of Twin Falls, Idaho, is the general contractor, and Excel Engineering of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, is the designer.

• O-AT-KA Milk Products, Batavia, New York

O-AT-KA Milk Products LLC recently commenced construction on a 3,200-square-foot facility expansion in the town of Batavia, New York.
O-AT-KA Milk Products’ $3.1 million investment will house two new 18,000-gallon tanks to increase capacities of cream-based liquor beverages and future expansions.

O-AT-KA Milk Products has been a part of the Genesee County community since 1959. Some of the company’s products include dairy-based beverages, evaporated milk, butter, milk powder and other dairy products. This investment allows O-AT-KA Milk Products to diversify its offerings of dairy-based beverages.

• Perry’s Ice Cream, Akron, New York

Empire State Development (ESD), New York state’s chief economic development agency, late last year announced Perry’s Ice Cream Co. Inc. is expanding its production capabilities to meet the growth of the novelty market, adding 20,000 square feet to its manufacturing facility in Akron, New York. To better accommodate the growing demand for frozen Greek yogurt novelties, Perry’s also will purchase new machinery and equipment. The company has committed to creating up to 15 new jobs as part of the expansion project; 370 jobs will be retained.

“Generations of Western New Yorkers have had a sweet tooth for Perry’s ice cream, and I am very pleased Empire State Development could help ensure this longtime manufacturer continues to grow, compete and create new jobs here,” says Hope Knight, president, CEO and commissioner, ESD.

The frozen novelty market is a $5 billion industry globally that is seeing exponential annual growth. To meet this growing demand, Perry’s will establish a new extruded novelty line that will serve its current and future contract manufacturing customers. The new line will have the ability to craft conventional ice cream-based options as well as sorbet, yogurt, non-dairy varieties and more. The $18 million project includes the addition of a 20,000-square-foot building to house the new extruded ice cream novelty machine and conveyor systems, as well as upgrades to an existing building’s engine room and pump room.

“Western New York is an ideal place for us to operate our growing business, service our customer base and expand our offerings,” says Robert Denning, president and CEO, Perry’s. “We are grateful to ESD for providing support for our latest business opportunity. We also recognize that our success is the direct result of our team’s dedication and commitment to making the highest-quality and most delicious products.”

ESD is assisting Perry’s by providing up to $365,000 in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits in exchange for job creation commitments. Perry’s expects to be operational in the new space by late this summer.

• Renards Cheese, Algoma, Wisconsin

Renards Cheese late last year broke ground on a new production facility on County Highway S in Algoma, Wisconsin. The expansion, which encompasses three phases, will include a new production facility as well as an on-site exact-weight cut-and-wrap operation and warehouse.
Company officials say the 50,000-square-foot project will help Renards become more effective and allow it to meet growing needs for increased production. The first phase is expected to be complete this spring, with the second phase completed in 2024.

The company can produce up to 3 million pounds of cheese at its current facility, which was built in the 1920s. Upon full completion, the new facility
will be able to produce up to 12 million pounds of cheese per year.

• Saputo Dairy USA, Franklin and Reedsburg, Wisconsin, and Tulare, California

Construction is underway on a greenfield facility in Franklin, Wisconsin, to consolidate and modernize Saputo Dairy USA’s cut-and-wrap activities. This state-of-the-art facility will become the center of Saputo’s expanded cut-and-wrap capabilities in the Midwest and is expected to result in the creation of 600 jobs. This new facility represents an investment of C$240 million and is slated to be operating at full capacity by the third quarter of fiscal 2025.

Once operational, Saputo anticipates transferring existing packaging operations from other manufacturing sites to its new facility in Franklin.
Meanwhile, after ceasing cut-and-wrap activities at its Bardsley Street facility in Tulare, California, as announced in fiscal 2022, Saputo now intends to invest C$75 million to convert this location into a String cheese packaging facility. The investment will help support the company’s growth ambitions and sustain its leadership position in the String cheese product category, officials say. The facility is slated to be operating at full capacity by the third quarter of fiscal 2025.

Saputo also plans to invest C$45 million to convert its long-standing Mozzarella manufacturing facility in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, to a goat cheese manufacturing plant to increase capacity, expand its position in growing specialty cheese categories and improve productivity. In line with the company’s strategy to modernize its Mozzarella operations, current cheese manufacturing from this facility will be transferred to other existing Saputo facilities in the USA Sector, increasing capacity utilization, improving operational efficiencies and reducing costs.

• University of Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE), Rupert, Idaho

Dairy sustainability scientists and innovators soon will have the nation’s largest research hub to test their ideas and develop technologies in the Pacific Northwest as support is ramping up for the new Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE) at the University of Idaho.
Located in the nation’s third-largest dairy-producing state and home to a thriving agriculture sector, CAFE is designed with the size and scale of a commercial dairy, with additional capabilities to grow and study crops used for animal nutrition. Researchers will examine the sustainability of the dairy farming value chain from feed to milk and beyond to help bring solutions to dairy farmers in the Western region for years to come. In addition, innovators will study additional revenue streams for farmers beyond milk from emerging bio-based products and carbon credit markets.
Cargill recently announced it is donating $500,000 to the University of Idaho for the project.

“Supporting the next generation of agriculture sustainability experts and the dairy farmers who will benefit from their advancements is important to our company,” says Julie Abrahamzon, commercial director for Cargill’s animal nutrition business in North America. “We are making investments in projects like U of Idaho’s CAFE because we believe in the future of the dairy industry.”

Burley-based Redox Bio-Nutrients also recently announced a $500,000 gift to the groundbreaking effort.

“Collectively, we can move mountains,” says Michael Parrella, dean of the University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. “From the Idaho Legislature to Redox and others in agriculture, it truly is a remarkable partnership that will pay widespread dividends.”

The Idaho CAFE will be the largest and most advanced research center targeting the dairy and allied industries, according to the U of I. It will support a sustainable dairy production system located in a semi-arid environment. Idaho CAFE will support workforce development, education and community engagement in the state and region.

The CAFE will have three locations, including a Food Processing Pilot Plant located in Twin Falls on the College of Southern Idaho campus.
The core of CAFE is a 2,000-cow commercial-scale dairy located in Rupert. The site also consists of 1,200 additional acres for complementary agronomic research, feed production and nutrient management.

An Outlook and Education Center will be located in Jerome and will provide a window into agriculture, food production, water, power and energy.

The $22.5 million multiphase project will begin milking its first cows by the end of 2024 and will house 2,000 cows when fully operational.

• University of Wisconsin-Madison, Babcock Hall Dairy Plant and Center for Dairy Research, Madison, Wisconsin

The public is invited to visit Babcock Hall’s new and improved facilities during an open house April 14 from 2-4 p.m. on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus. The event will feature an interactive self-guided tour highlighting the building’s new state-of-the-art spaces, including the Center for Dairy Research (CDR) addition and the renovated Babcock Hall Dairy Plant. During the tour, participants will learn about the facilities by visiting eight stations, many featuring samples of goods produced in the building, including CDR cheeses and Babcock ice cream.

Babcock Hall was built in the early 1950s and today houses the Department of Food Science, the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant, the Babcock Hall Dairy Store and CDR. This construction project represented the first major upgrade to the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant since then. It also provided CDR, which was established in 1986, with the space and equipment it needs to meet its research and outreach mission.

• University of Wisconsin-River Falls, River Falls, Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls (UWRF) continues its installation process and anticipates a summer grand reopening of its revamped dairy plant. UWRF renovated its 30-year-old dairy plant to provide teaching and training opportunities that will give graduates a competitive edge. The pilot plant has been completely rebuilt, doubling in size to 6,500 square feet.

Naming opportunities still are available to support the renovation, with some of the latest investments coming from Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery (naming the Dairy Plant Manager office), Associated Milk Producers Inc. (naming the Donor Alcove), Dave and Frankie Lenzmeier (naming the Food Science Entry Staircase, which will highlight dairy industry careers), Nasonville Dairy Inc./Heiman Family (naming the Dairy Education Corridor, which will highlight dairy processing), Nelson-Jameson (naming the Dairy Plant Lab as well as establishing two Nelson-Jameson scholarships) and Compeer Financial (naming the plant viewing windows).

In addition, UWRF recently announced the establishment of the Wuethrich Family/Grassland Dairy Center of Excellence, which will provide new opportunities to students and industry professionals thanks to a $1 million investment from the Wuethrich Family Foundation and Grassland Dairy Products Inc.

When the Wuethrich Family/Grassland Dairy Center of Excellence comes online this summer, it will be able to offer new research opportunities and additional short courses with the new equipment. It also will provide employment opportunities for students to work in the facility as well as to do research with UWRF Assistant Professor Grace Lewis, who joined the faculty last year through funding from the Dairy Innovation Hub to specialize in dairy processing.

“We did have dairy industry partners step up and support our additional naming opportunities throughout the dairy plant and food science building. We thank these companies and alumni for their continued support,” says Julie Stucky, advancement officer, UWRF.

• Valley Milk, Turlock, California

Valley Milk LLC earlier this year announced a 10,000-square-foot expansion of its milk processing facility in Turlock, California. Consistent with the overall business strategy of creating value-added products, the ownership of Valley Milk LLC announced its intention to begin producing anhydrous milkfat (AMF) at the facility in 2024.

“In discussions with various customers, we believe the U.S. marketplace has a need for additional high-quality AMF for use in the ice cream and confectionary business. Additionally, there are strategic opportunities to export AMF into the international market,” says Valley Milk CEO Glenn Wallace.

The 10,000-square-foot expansion will provide the capability to produce AMF in drums, totes and eventually pails to serve industrial and foodservice customers. Valley Milk will continue to market bulk cream in California.

“We are excited about the continued growth of our customer relationships, and the AMF project will allow us to provide an additional line of product to market domestically and into the world market,” says Valley Milk Chairman Don Machado.

Valley Milk LLC is a state-of-the-art 24/7/365 powdered milk ingredient processing facility on a 30-acre site in Turlock, California. The plant is designed for and has capacity to process 2.5 million pounds of raw milk per day.

• Valley Queen Cheese, Milbank, South Dakota

Valley Queen Cheese held a groundbreaking event last summer to celebrate its new expansion project in Milbank, South Dakota.

The project is going well and is right on track in spite of a few winter weather delays, officials say. Construction crews have completed all of the foundation work for the new four-bay drive-through intake, warehouse and new employe facility/office area. In the last few weeks, the steel erection has progressed very quickly on the warehouse, and last week, the crew began erecting the employee facility/office.

The expansion is set to be fully operational by January 2025 and will be the largest in the company’s 93-year history.

CMN


U.S. requests consultations with Mexico over ag biotech

March 17, 2023

WASHINGTON — The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) last week announced it is requesting technical consultations with the government of Mexico under the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures chapter of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). These consultations regard certain Mexican measures concerning products of agricultural biotechnology.

“The United States has repeatedly conveyed serious concerns with Mexico’s biotechnology policies and the importance of adopting a science-based approach that complies with its USMCA commitments,” says U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai. “Mexico’s policies threaten to disrupt billions of dollars in agricultural trade, and they will stifle the innovation that is necessary to tackle the climate crisis and food security challenges if left unaddressed. We hope these consultations will be productive as we continue to work with Mexico to address these issues.”

Mexico is one of the United States’ oldest and strongest trading partners, USTR says, adding that the U.S.-Mexico relationship is rooted in trust and honesty, and there are many ways in which the two countries can cooperate and work together. The U.S. government’s intention is that through this process, it can reach an outcome that respects each country’s sovereignty and benefits the United States, Mexico and their respective agricultural producers and stakeholders.

“Mexico is an important partner, and we remain committed to maintaining and strengthening our economic ties. A robust, transparent agricultural trading relationship, founded on rules and science, is vital to ensuring food security, mitigating the lingering effects of food price inflation and helping to address the climate crisis. Innovations in agricultural biotechnology play a key role in advancing these critical, global objectives,” says U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “While we appreciate the sustained, active engagement with our Mexican counterparts at all levels of government, we remain firm in our view that Mexico’s current biotechnology trajectory is not grounded in science, with is the foundation of USMCA.”

Last week’s announcement follows extensive engagement by USTR and USDA with the Mexican government on its biotech policies. On Jan. 30, the United States sent a formal, written request to Mexico for “an explanation of the reasons for” and “pertinent relevant information regarding” certain Mexican measures concerning biotech products. Mexico provided a written response on Feb. 14, which will help inform technical consultations.

USTR and USDA urge all of the United States’ trading partners to follow a science-based approach to biotech products, which help U.S. farmers respond to pressing climate and food security challenges. USTR notes Mexico is a valued trading partner, and the United States is committed to working with it to resolve these biotech issues and avoid any disruption in trade in corn or other agricultural products. If these issues are not resolved, USTR will consider all options, including taking formal steps to enforce U.S. rights under the USMCA.

CMN



Schuman Cheese continues legacy of innovative, award-winning products

BFAIRFIELD, N.J. — Schuman Cheese’s latest introductions, from extra-aged Parmesan to Mascarpone truffles to a plant-based cream cheese alternative, continue to lead with innovation while carrying on the family company’s four generations of quality and care.

“I think Schuman Cheese, by our DNA, has always been an innovative company,” says Allison Schuman, chief revenue officer. “It’s who we are as entrepreneurs — we put a lot of emphasis on leading-edge innovation. We see how consumers are looking at the market, jump in, and see what is really exciting ... we’re always pushing the envelope on innovation.”

The company started in 1945 with Arthur Schuman and his sons Jerome and Howard, who began importing cheeses from South America. Schuman remains a prolific importer of high-quality cheeses, but the company also has developed a reputation for its own award-winning cheeses and other innovative products under its brands that include Cello, Yellow Door Creamery, and more recently Delve and Vevan.

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Outlook notes low prices, high input costs squeeze value chain

March 10, 2023

WASHINGTON — According to a new report from Rabobank, participants all along the dairy value chain are being squeezed. Producers’ milk prices have tumbled from 2022’s elevated levels while feed prices are at record highs. Processors and dairy cooperatives entered the year discounting expensive inventory made with high-priced milk. Meanwhile, higher inflation and rising interest rates are pressuring consumers toward more frugal purchasing behavior, Rabobank says it its latest Global Dairy Quarterly report, “The Squeeze is On.”

Greater year-on-year milk production growth has emerged in 2023 in key export regions compared to 2022’s low levels, the report notes. At the same time, farmgate milk prices are catching up to global commodity market trends and have moved lower. Expensive input costs remain a clear headwind worldwide and, combined with lower milk prices, are resulting in farm-level margin pressure. In response, dairy cow slaughter rates have escalated.

“Milk production from the Big 7 export regions is anticipated to grow by 0.7% year-on-year in 2023, following 2022’s decline of 0.9%,” says Mary Ledman, global sector strategist for dairy at Rabobank. “Rabobank downgraded its 2023 forecast from last quarter’s estimate of 1%. This slower growth is attributed to increased culling in the U.S. and weather-related production challenges in New Zealand, Brazil and Argentina.”

In the United States, Rabobank forecasts milk production will grow by 1.1% in 2023, down from its fourth-quarter 2022 estimate. A critical wild card in the growth rate will be cow numbers in the coming months, the report says, noting farmer sentiment has recently shifted the herd management strategy, with lower milk prices spurring farmers to cull unprofitable animals.

Dairy market price uncertainty remains across global regions and dairy products, the report notes. A little more milk and a little less demand have contributed to weaker dairy commodity prices in the first quarter of 2023. However, stock levels in the key exporting regions are not burdensome. Cheese and butter prices have performed the best, while skim and whole milk powder markets have yet to find sound footing.

Consumers are part of the story. In a complex macroeconomic environment, with core services inflation remaining strong, there are increased signs of a slowdown in household consumption, which is likely to continue deteriorating over the coming months.

“Consumers haven’t left the dairy aisle,” says Ledman, “but they are looking for value.”

In the United States, while cheese demand is expected to persist, additional available milk will cap the upside through most of this year, Rabobank says. Weaker nonfat dry milk and butter prices will remove the premium that Class IV milk experienced in much of 2022.

“Prices will remain lower in near-term months, but upside is expected in the second half of the year,” the report says.

Meanwhile, lower year-on-year global cheese, milk powder and whey prices are expected to support exports, the report notes. Still, much depends on internal Chinese policies and broader demand resilience to support dairy product prices in 2023.

Global dairy trade in 2022 was better than expected, despite China’s retreat, the report says. Exports to key importers including Mexico, Indonesia, Japan, Algeria and South Korea, among others, surpassed 2021 levels.

“Through November 2022, trade in total dairy product volume was within 1.5% of the previous year, despite about a 20% reduction in China’s imports,” Ledman says.

With China’s reopening, Rabobank forecasts foodservice revenues there to improve by 1% to 2% compared to pre-COVID levels.

“Looking ahead, China’s dairy imports in the first quarter of 2023 are expected to fall short of year-ago levels, with renewed buying interest developing in the second quarter of the year. We expect a mild year-on-year increase in imports in the second half of 2023,” Ledman says.

CMN


January U.S. dairy exports up double digits in volume, value

March 10, 2023

WASHINGTON — U.S. dairy exports in January posted double-digit growth in both volume and value, led by strong sales in core product categories including cheese, nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP) and whey, according to the latest export data reported this week by the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC).

Shipments of U.S. dairy products in January totaled 181,676 metric tons (on a milk solids equivalent basis), up 16% from January 2022, USDEC reports. January dairy export value rose 21% over a year earlier to $710.9 million.

Meanwhile, dairy imports also showed significant growth in January, according to the latest data from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Dairy product imports (BICO-HS10 product group) in January totaled 74,077 metric tons, up 44% from a year earlier, while the value of dairy imports in January was $424.7 million, up 33% from January 2022.

U.S. cheese exports in January totaled 34,015 metric tons, up 16% from January 2022, with particularly strong growth in Latin America, Middle East/North Africa and Japan, USDEC reports.

NDM/SMP exports in January totaled 68,211 metric tons, up 15% from January last year. USDEC notes robust demand in this category from Mexico, where the United States shipped a record 36,520 metric tons of NDM/SMP.

Exports of dry whey products in January totaled 44,516 metric tons, up 12% from a year earlier. High-protein whey products (WPC 80+) rose 14%, while low-protein varieties were up 12%, USDEC reports. China bought more low-protein varieties, while high-protein varieties found buyers in a number of different markets, USDEC adds.

U.S. exports of lactose totaled 38,232 metric tons, up 30%, and milk protein concentrate exports totaled 3,026 metric tons, up 8% from January 2022, USDEC reports. Meanwhile butterfat exports fell 13% to 4,269 metric tons.

For more data and analysis on January dairy exports, visit https://blog.usdec.org/usdairyexporter/us-dairy-exports-finished-record-2022-on-a-high-note-0.

CMN


January U.S. cheese production rises 3.2% from one year earlier

March 10, 2023

WASHINGTON — U.S. cheese production, excluding cottage cheese, in January totaled 1.209 billion pounds, up 3.2% from January 2022’s 1.172 billion pounds, and up 1.2% from December’s 1.195 billion pounds, according to data released last week by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). (All figures are rounded. Please see CMN’s Dairy Production chart.)

Italian-type cheese production in January totaled 501.4 million pounds, down 0.4% from January 2022. Production of Mozzarella, the largest component of Italian-type cheese production, totaled 394.7 million pounds in January, down less than half a percent from a year earlier.

American-type cheese production in January totaled 501.0 million pounds, up 6.2% from January 2022. Production of Cheddar, the largest component of American-type cheese, totaled 356.1 million pounds in January, up 7.1% from January 2022.

Wisconsin was the leading cheese-producing state with 295.9 million pounds produced in January, up 3.2% from January 2022. California produced the second most cheese in January at 204.0 million pounds, down 2.3% from a year earlier.

U.S. production of butter totaled 201.4 million pounds in January, up 3.8% from January 2022 and up 7.3% from December’s 187.8 million pounds. California led the nation in butter production with 64.8 million pounds in January, up 3.2% from January 2022.

CMN


FDA labeling guidance draws backlash from dairy, senators

March 3, 2023

WASHINGTON — Dairy and agriculture industry stakeholders are expressing concerns over a draft guidance issued by FDA last week on the naming of plant-based foods that are marketed and sold as alternatives to milk. The draft guidance recommends voluntary nutrient statements for the labeling of some plant-based milk alternatives. While industry stakeholders welcomed FDA action on the labeling of plant-based alternatives, many say the guidance doesn’t go far enough to address ongoing issues.

“FDA has acknowledged the problem of nutritional confusion without providing a complete solution,” says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF).

Following FDA’s announcement on the guidance last week, Sens. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., called the guidance “ill-advised” and announced they are reintroducing the Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, Milk and Cheese to Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Everyday Act — commonly known as the DAIRY PRIDE Act. (See “Stakeholders weigh in on FDA guidance on milk alternatives” in last week’s issue of Cheese Market News.)

The DAIRY PRIDE Act of 2023 would require non-dairy products made from nuts, seeds, plants and algae to no longer be mislabeled with dairy terms such as milk, yogurt or cheese. Additional cosponsors of the legislation include Sens. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Peter Welch, D-Vt.

“For too long, plant-based products with completely different nutritional values have wrongly masqueraded as dairy,” Risch says. “This dishonest branding is misleading to consumers and a disservice to the dairy farmers who have committed their lives to making milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream and more nutritious products Idahoans enjoy every day. It is past time that the Food and Drug Administration enforce its own definitions for dairy terminology, prevent imitation products from deceiving consumers and start advocating for the farmers who feed us.”

Baldwin notes Wisconsin’s dairy farmers produce second-to-none products with the highest nutritional value, adding that imitation products have gotten away with using dairy’s good name without meeting those standards.

“The Biden administration’s guidance that allows non-dairy products to use dairy names is just wrong, and I’m proud to take a stand for Wisconsin farmers and the quality products they make. Our bipartisan DAIRY PRIDE Act will protect our dairy farmers and ensure consumers know the nutritional value of what they are purchasing,” Baldwin says.

NMPF commended the senators for re-introducing the legislation, noting it would end the problem of consumer confusion on the nutritional content of plant-based beverages — something NMPF says FDA took inadequate steps to remedy last week.

“DAIRY PRIDE is needed more than ever, now that FDA has offered guidance on the labeling of plant-based beverages that, while taking steps in the right direction, ultimately doesn’t remedy the problem it seeks to solve, which is the proven confusion among consumers created when plant-based beverages steal dairy terms to make their products appear healthier than they really are,” Mulhern says. “DAIRY PRIDE solves the problem by requiring FDA to enforce what its own standards of identity state: that ‘milk’ is a term reserved for animal products and that plant-based drinks or beverages shouldn’t be allowed to use dairy terms in their labeling.”

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) notes it is opposed to the use of milk and other dairy terms, including cheese, for plant-based products, saying FDA’s disappointing draft guidance will only result in more consumer confusion. The organization also is working with members of Congress to push back on the new FDA guidance via the DAIRY PRIDE Act.

FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative says the DAIRY PRIDE Act would bring clarity to food labeling as it impacts imitation products of dairy foods including milk, yogurt and cheese while ultimately helping consumers make better, more-informed choices of the foods they eat.

“For years, FarmFirst has been engaged on the issue to require FDA to enforce milk standards of identity, which prohibit using dairy terms on non-dairy products. We commend Sen. Baldwin for her persistent efforts to hold the FDA accountable through her direct communication with FDA and the reintroduction of the DAIRY PRIDE Act,” says Jeff Lyon, FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative general manager. “It’s extremely frustrating that FDA’s recently released dairy draft guidance contradicts their own regulation and definitions, allowing non-dairy products to use dairy names a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.”

John Rettler, a producer at Tin Valley Farms in Neosho, Wisconsin, and president of FarmFirst , adds that consumers deserve to be treated with respect, transparency and provided with clear and accurate food labels on the food they buy.

“Further, our dairy farmers deserve recognition for producing such a wholesome, quality product, ” Rettler says. “Milk is clearly defined by the FDA, and this definition should be enforced.”

Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative also notes it appreciates Sen. Baldwin for taking the lead reintroducing the DAIRY PRIDE Act and sending a clear message to the plant-based alternative processors that they must abide by federal regulations.

“Accurate labeling supports real dairy products, produced by actual dairy farmers and processors,” says Brody Stapel, president, Edge.

He notes Edge has been at the forefront of advocacy for enforcing the existing FDA regulation. Based on a co-commissioned national survey, the cooperative found that customers are confused about whether imitation cheese products are indeed dairy foods and whether they carry the same nutritional value.

CMN


USTR releases trade agenda; CCFN lauds ‘gruyere’ ruling

March 3, 2023

WASHINGTON — The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on Wednesday released President Biden’s 2023 Trade Policy Agenda and 2022 Annual Report to Congress.

“The 2023 Trade Policy Agenda and 2022 Annual Report details the key accomplishments from the first two years of the Biden administration and our priorities for the year ahead,” says U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai. “From enforcing the USMCA to creating innovative trade arrangements with our allies and partners, we will continue to pursue an agenda that will deliver sustainable and inclusive economic prosperity for all.”

USTR notes that under Tai’s leadership, it delivered important wins for domestic agricultural stakeholders, including farmers, producers and processors, as U.S. agricultural exports expanded to a record $202 billion. Among the significant accomplishments in opening and maintaining export markets for U.S. agriculture in 2022 are:

• Work with both the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) on tariff-rate quotas (TRQs), favorable market access and greater certainty following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

• Ensured continued access for U.S. food exports to China despite burdensome new requirements China implemented in 2022.

• After significant engagement on the part of the U.S. government, Indonesia approved three U.S. dairy facilities in April 2022, bringing the list of U.S. facilities eligible to ship to Indonesia — the seventh-largest market for U.S. dairy — to 128.

USTR also detailed numerous bilateral and regional trade agreements it engaged in during 2022, including the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, which involves 13 countries in the Indo-Pacific region that, combined with the United States, represent 40% of global gross domestic product (GDP).

The report notes the dispute settlement consultations in 2022 under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to address dairy restrictions by Canada that are contrary to USMCA commitments, as well as ongoing actions as a panel is set to issue a report later this year on Canada’s allocations of dairy TRQs. Additionally, the United States continues to engage with Mexico to address concerns with Mexico’s policies regarding agricultural biotechnology.

USTR says in 2023, the administration will continue to improve economic opportunities for U.S. farmers, ranchers and food manufacturers by expanding market access opportunities in foreign markets through the negotiation of agreements that include provisions intended to eliminate or reduce nontariff barriers that can hamper market access for U.S. agricultural products. The administration will seek to include in these agreements enforceable provisions that build on World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations, including provisions to ensure that sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures are science-based, developed through transparent, predictable processes and implemented in a nondiscriminatory manner.

“In 2023, the Biden administration will continue to ensure that our trade agreements benefit American workers, including farmers, and will use our enforcement tools as necessary to ensure that our trading partners deliver on their commitments and that U.S. agricultural producers receive the benefits negotiated in existing FTAs,” USTR says.

To read the full report, visit https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/2023-02/2023%20Trade%20Policy%20Agenda%20and%202022%20Annual%20Report%20FINAL%20(1).pdf.

Also on Wednesday, the Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) met with congressional leaders to discuss the efforts by certain trading partners to monopolize common food and beverage names under the guise of deeming them geographical indications (GIs). The event highlighted the need for more focused and assertive U.S. government actions to counter these growing trade barriers and protect the right of American producers.

Sens. Tammy Baldwin, R-Wis., and Roger Marshall, R-Kan., and Reps. Jim Costa, D-Calif., and Adrian Smith, R-Neb., joined CCFN members along with industry partners to underscore the importance of a strong and coordinated U.S. government response to protect American farmers and businesses from unfair competition arising from GI abuse.

“The European Union has been the principal culprit in seeking to monopolize the use of generic terms such as ‘parmesan,’ ‘bologna’ and ‘chateau’ by not only barricading its own market against use of the common terms but also deploying trade negotiations to incite other countries to impose similar bans on legitimate competition in their own markets,” says Jaime Castaneda, executive director, CCFN.

The event participants underscored the need for USTR and USDA to proactively establish with U.S. trading partners strong protections for common names, using whatever tools are necessary to preserve access for U.S. exports to those markets.

“We thank Sens. Baldwin and Marshall and Reps. Smith and Costa for their leadership in protecting the rights of American farmers and food producers to use product names that have been in the public domain for generations,” Castaneda says.

Today, CCFN, along with the U.S. Dairy Export Council, National Milk Producers Federation and a coalition of other dairy stakeholders, celebrated a victory in its ongoing battle to protect the right of producers to use generic names in the U.S. market.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the prior decisions of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in finding “gruyere” to be a generic term for a variety of cheese. CCFN says the Fourth Circuit’s clear decision should put an end to the attempt by Swiss and French consortiums to expropriate a common food name through a U.S. certification mark registration.

The Fourth Circuit found that the evidence is “so one-sided that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and opposers must prevail as a matter of law.” The court reasoned that the common usage of gruyere is such that when purchasers walk into retail stores and ask for “gruyere,” they regularly mean a type of cheese and not a cheese that was produced in the Gruyère region of Switzerland and France.

“The court has sent a clear message that European attempts to stop American producers from using generic food names in the U.S. will be firmly rejected. It is a momentous victory for American consumers, farmers and food manufacturers,” Castaneda says.

CMN


FDA provides updates on Human Foods Program, ORA restructuring

March 3, 2023

WASHINGTON — FDA this week announced it has begun a national search for a new deputy commissioner for human foods and is providing an update on its proposed restructuring of the agency’s Human Foods Program and Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA), announced earlier this year, to enhance coordination, prevention and response activities. This week’s updates include additional details about the proposed structure, status of activities and timeline for next steps.

“My search for a new deputy commissioner for human foods is underway, the first recruitment effort open to both external and internal candidates under the agency’s expanded Title 21 hiring authority for a foods-related position,” says FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf. “I’m looking forward to starting the interview process and making a selection for this important position as soon as possible.”

Califf notes there also have been a number of questions about the proposed operational changes for ORA and how these plans will work with changes to the Human Foods Program.

“I cannot stress enough that my vision is focused on a new, agency-wide model where the activities and responsibilities of the regulatory programs and ORA are better synced to improve efficiency and effectiveness with clear decision rights so that everyone knows who has authority,” he says.

For the proposed Human Foods Program, one key to success will be an empowered deputy commissioner for human foods who will report directly to the FDA commissioner. The agency is focused on identifying a candidate that has the expertise to provide leadership over FDA’s nutrition and food safety programs (including programs aimed at preventing and responding to chemical, microbial and other hazards). The ideal candidate will have executive-level and real-world experience sufficient to lead the newly envisioned Human Foods Program and its vast scope of responsibility. This individual also will have a clear line of authority over the proposed Human Foods Program, which would include the existing components of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), the Office of Food Policy and Response (OFPR) and certain human foods-related components of ORA. (See “FDA announces new structure for Human Foods Program, ORA” in the Feb. 3, 2023, issue of Cheese Market News.)

To ensure the new Human Foods Program and all other regulatory programs at FDA are successful, work on an agency-wide transformation effort of how the programs and field functions are organized and operate is underway. FDA’s proposal will create a new model that better integrates ORA’s enterprise-wide expertise in field-based operations with product subject matter experts who sit in all the agency’s programs. The deputy commissioner for human foods and other program leads will be charged with setting strategic direction for food inspections and have authority over program resource allocation. To achieve these goals, the agency has started the process of:

• Assessing specific functions of ORA, CFSAN and OFPR to be unified into a new Office of Integrated Food Safety Systems Partnerships that will engage with state, local, tribal and territorial food safety regulatory partners. The assessment also will include how best to enhance connectivity with international food safety partnership programs.

• Analyzing inspection and compliance functions that sit within both ORA and program offices across the agency to determine opportunities to streamline operations and clarify decision-making authority at each step of the inspection process as well as integrate new automation and information technology (IT) support. The new processes will enable ORA and program personnel to function as a multidisciplinary team, eliminating sequential steps, immediately bringing the best expertise to bear on the problem at hand and speeding decisions.

• Determining how best to empower the deputy commissioner for human foods and leaders of other programs, along with the associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, to oversee program and field resource allocation, including publicly mapping the budget to functional activities to provide clarity on resource allocation.

• Ensuring seamless coordination across FDA and state-operated food laboratory operations by evaluating the foods laboratory programs, including the relationships, roles and responsibilities among CFSAN, CVM, ORA and state-operated laboratories.

• Improving FDA’s ability to conduct risk prioritization to deliver the highest public health benefit by performing an extensive evaluation of how the Human Foods Program accomplishes risk management, particularly risk prioritization, given the multitude of demands and the scarce resources, and how this can be used to guide dynamic work planning and resource allocation.

• Planning for greater enterprise transformation of certain ORA IT functions, which will be coordinated with FDA’s Office of Digital Transformation (ODT). This move builds on the existing project to create an enterprise-wide platform for managing inspections and compliance activities. ODT will drive upgrades to FDA-wide IT systems.

• Evaluating training programs, including for FDA investigators, to see how they can best serve the needs of FDA, regulatory partners and the regulated industry. This will include assessing whether some training functions or roles should be unified into the Human Foods Program and other product programs.

In addition, FDA is announcing that this vision will include moving cosmetics regulation and color certification functions out of CFSAN and into the Office of the Chief Scientist.

“Our proposal specifically tackles issues identified in two independent evaluations of our food programs, one conducted by the Reagan-Udall Foundation and an internal evaluation of the agency’s infant formula response. We’ve heard loud and clear that the current resource distribution and operational model between the FDA’s regulatory programs and field operations are siloed and there’s too much duplication. We intend to fix this and strengthen both the regulatory programs and field force,” Califf says. “Both subject matter experts in the programs and the expertise of our investigators in the field will see more interaction as part of multidisciplinary teams that have clarity on who is in charge of making decisions.”

FDA says it is seeking to finalize its proposal this fall. This process includes the development of a reorganization package that contains the newly designed structure, an established budget, and a detailed mapping and crosswalk of staff from the current to new organization. The package then undergoes a thorough review before advancing to Congress for a 30-day notification period where members may raise any concerns that FDA may need to address. Afterward, FDA will issue a Federal Register notice, provide notification to and engage, as needed, in negotiations with the Unions for impacted staff, prior to initiation of the new proposal.

FDA notes will continue to engage with stakeholders throughout this process, and additional updates will be provided as work on this proposal continues to unfold.

For more information, visit www.fda.gov/media/164937/download.

CMN


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Today's Cheese Spot Trading
March 22, 2023


Barrels: $1.9400 (-1 1/4)
Blocks: $2.0150 (+3)

Click here for more market activity
Cheese Production
U.S. Total Jan.
1.209 bil. lbs.


Milk Production
U.S. Total Jan.
19.300 bil. lbs.

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