July 31 , 2007
Volume V, No. 4
FDA Announces Program to Enhance States’ Food Safety Programs
Goal is to Strengthen Safety of Food Facilities Overseen by States
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today launched a national program to bring about the adoption of more uniform, equivalent, and high quality regulatory programs by state agencies responsible for regulating facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food under FDA’s jurisdiction.
“This risk-based program represents a significant step in further integrating our food safety system,” said Margaret O’K. Glavin, FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “We realize it will be several years before it’s fully implemented, but we’re confident this program will bring great benefits to the public health.”
Currently, programmatic activities can vary from state to state and such variations can lead to inconsistencies in oversight of food safety. Adoption of voluntary standards for state regulatory programs will establish a uniform basis for measuring and improving the performance of state programs for regulating manufactured food and help the state and federal authorities reduce foodborne illness hazards in food facilities.
The Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards are the result of five years of intensive cooperative effort by federal and state regulators. The standards define best practices for the critical elements of state regulatory programs designed to protect the public from foodborne illness and injury, including:
Each standard has corresponding self-assessment worksheets. Several standards have supplemental worksheets and forms to assist state regulators in determining whether their state program addresses all of the elements in the standards.
The Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards have been approved by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and will be pilot-tested in New York, Oregon, and Missouri before September 30, 2007.
FDA regulates about 80 percent of the food supply, which includes food for humans and animals, except meat products, poultry products, and egg products, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Limited Seats Available in ISVMA Convention Wet Labs
The ISVMA began offering wet labs and intensives at the 2005 Convention in Springfield. They were so successful that we expanded the number of wet lab and intensives in 2006 (and again in 2007) and have focused on offering programs that can increase practice productivity and profit.
The ISVMA Convention wet labs have limited capacity and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Register early to assure you can attend these great sessions.
This year, ISVMA is offering three wet labs on November 2:
1) Puppy Aggression Prevention and Socialization by Dr. Rolan Tripp
2) 21st Century Ear Medicine by Dr. Louis Gotthelf
3) Equine Dentistry by Dr. Jack Easley
Intensive Programs Designed to Inform and Enhance Your Practice
ISVMA is offering two intensive programs on November 2:
1) Business Practice Intensive by Wendy Myers
2) Complementary & Alternative Medicine Intensive by Dr. Robert Silver
ISVMA Legislative Update
It has been a long and frustrating legislative year and lawmakers continue to delay their summer break as budget negotiations continue. Updates on some key issues follow:
Governor Rod Blagojevich is preparing to implement “contingency plans” for operating state government if neither a permanent nor a temporary budget is in place by midnight. However, Comptroller Dan Hynes said Monday that state government can continue to operate without disruption until at least August 8, which is a deadline for processing school-aid payments and a payroll for about 5,000 state employees.
Lawmakers were supposed to have passed a new state budget by July 1. Unable to agree on a permanent spending plan, they approved a one-month budget. Blagojevich wants lawmakers to pass another one-month budget to keep the state operating while negotiations continue. The four legislative leaders, though, aren’t inclined to support another one-month budget and instead are working on a permanent plan. The Governor and four legislative leaders continue to meet in Springfield in an effort to reach a budget agreement.
HOUSE BILL 3165
ISVMA proposed House Bill 3165 in the General Assembly earlier this year in order to clarify a section of the Illinois Child Labor Law that has recently been interpreted to prohibit children under the age of 16 from obtaining work permits to work in veterinary practices. The bill passed both the House and Senate and was sent to the Governor for his approval on June 15, 2007.
If the Governor does not approve the bill, he must veto it by returning it with his objections to the House of Representatives (chamber of origin). If it is not returned by the Governor within 60 calendar days after it is presented to him, it becomes law - even in the absence of his approval. The deadline for gubernatorial action on House Bill 3165 is August 14, 2007.
The nation's last horse processing plant in DeKalb has reopened while it challenges a state law that forced it to close twice in the last two months.
In late May, Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed into law a measure banning the slaughter of horses for human consumption, or the import, export, or possession of horse meat designated for human consumption.
Forced to close, the plant reopened for several weeks in June under a federal judge's order. It closed again when Judge Frederick J. Kapala decided against extending his order allowing the plant to operate while its appeal of the state law was pending.
Kapala later ruled Cavel's challenges to the state law on constitutional grounds were without merit, and the company appealed.
On July 18, 2007 the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago granted Cavel's request for an injunction prohibiting officials from enforcing the state law. In the brief ruling, the court said "irreparable harm" would come to Cavel if not allowed to resume operations while the appeal is pending.
ISVMA members that have not renewed their membership for the 2007-2008 Membership Year will be suspended at midnight tonight.
Suspended members will not receive the Epitome or E-SOURCE newsletters, enjoy member benefit programs, discount registrations or notifications of major regulatory or legal updates. They will also lose their continuous service status - which will delay their progress to Life Membership. Most importantly, they will lose out on the opportunity to support the veterinary profession by joining with colleagues to represent our interests before the Illinois General Assembly, Executive Branch and regulatory agencies.
Suspended members will be reinstated upon payment of dues. Their memberships will be terminated on June 30, 2008.
About the Photo in This Issue...
The most widespread and familiar of the American plovers, the Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) is technically in the family of shorebirds. They are unusual shorebirds, however, in that they often nest and live far from water. It is a common bird in farmyards, fields, and parking lots and gravel roads. They also appreciate the water's edge, though, and can often be found on the shores of ponds and lakes.
Baby Killdeer (seen in the summer) always come out running. They hatch with their eyes open, and as soon as their downy feathers dry, they start scurrying about, following their parents and searching the ground for something to eat. Newly-hatched Killdeer can't fly, and they need their Killdeer parents for protection and guidance, but they are a lot closer to independence than most baby birds. Seeing fluffy Killdeer chicks is one of the pleasures of summer. Although they are lively right away, just-hatched Killdeer are like new fawns, a bit tottery and clumsy on their overly-long legs.
Baby birds that hatch with their running shoes on are called precocial. Precocial means "ripened beforehand." (The word comes from the same Latin source as "precocious.") Other precocial birds besides Killdeer are chickens, ducks, and quail. None of these precocial babies lies in the nest and gets waited on.
Birds that hatch blind, naked, and helpless are called altricial, which comes from a Greek word meaning "wet nurse." Robins are altricial, as are blue jays, cardinals and most other birds. The hatchlings lie helplessly in their nests, relying utterly on their parents to bring them food and push it down their throats. It's two weeks or more before they mature enough to leave the nest, and even after they leave it, their parents are still feeding them.
Precocial birds stay in the egg twice as long as altricial birds, so they have more time to develop. A one-day-old Killdeer chick is actually two weeks older than a one-day-old robin nestling. Although adult robins and Killdeer are the same size, a killdeer's egg is twice as big as a robin's. There's more nourishment built into the Killdeer egg, to sustain the embryo for its longer time in the shell.
Precocial birds (i.e. Killdeer, ducklings, chicks) are all cute. They are small, bright-eyed, fluffy replicas of their parents. In contrast, altricial bird babies, like robins and blue jays, are not cute. They are blind, bald, wrinkly-skinned little creatures that take two or more weeks to begin resembling anything that might be considered bird-like.
Although many species of birds pretend to have a broken wing to lure predators from their nest, the Killdeer is the one most commonly seen performing this distraction display. Perhaps you have seen an adult Killdeer that seemed to have a broken wing. It struggles in front of you, as if it can barely walk, let alone fly. One or both wings drag pitifully on the ground. If your instinct to rescue the killdeer overcomes you, and you try to catch the bird, it almost lets you reach out and pick it up. But somehow, while struggling to keep its balance, the Killdeer manages to stay one step ahead of you. As you pursue it, the Killdeer leads you farther and farther away from its four downy Killdeer babies crouching on the ground or half hidden under a tiny bush.
When the Killdeer feels that the young are safe from you, its broken wing heals suddenly, and the bird flies away, calling a loud "KILL-DEE" that sounds like a jeer. After you've been fooled a time or two by the broken wing display, you'll learn not to give the deceiving adult Killdeer a second glance. Instead, you should look around for the killdeer babies. You may see one disappearing into the grass or flattening itself on the ground and freezing.
I photographed this Killdeer at the top of this newsletter along the Rio Grande River in Salineno, Texas in January 2005. I took the photograph of the adult Killdeer in the broken-wing display at Montrose Harbor in Chicago, IL in July 1996.
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