Labeling of meat and other animal products was the subject of several actions of the Executive Board in April. The board also approved policies relevant to production animals ranging from cattle to catfish.
On the recommendation of the Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee, the board approved a policy on "Truthful and non-misleading human food labeling." The policy supports labels on animal products that provide clear, unambiguous, scientifically valid, and verifiable claims regarding production practices. These production practices should not diminish the health and welfare of animals or increase risks to food safety.
Dr. David McCrystle, an Executive Board liaison to the AALC, said during the board meeting that the committee began discussing food labeling in light of recent developments in the marketing of chicken. Tyson had been marketing its brand-label chicken as coming from birds that do not receive antimicrobials. Tyson includes ionophores in the birds' feed, however, as do other companies.
The board also approved positions on legislation relevant to labeling of food from animal clones and progeny, on the recommendation of the Council on Public Health and Regulatory Medicine. The AVMA will actively pursue defeat of the Cloned Food Labeling Act, which would require labeling food from animal clones. Also, the AVMA will not support an amendment to the Organic Food Protection Act that would prohibit labeling food from animal clones as organic.
In another action, the board approved a "Brucellosis policy" to combine all previous AVMA policies on brucellosis in wildlife and livestock. The new policy encompasses brucellosis research and control efforts, surveillance and management activities, vaccination, diagnoses, and disease transmission in populations of domestic and wild animals.
The board also approved participation of the AVMA as primary coordinating entity of the International Aquaculture Biosecurity Conference from July 18-22, 2009, at the University of Prince Edward Island Atlantic Veterinary College.