As Basu explained, three dozen bills were introduced and defeated in state legislatures in 2011 and 2012. Similar initiatives and legislation are expected in at least 27 states in 2013.
“Over the last three years, we’ve seen a concerted, well-funded effort against biotech,” Basu explained. “These campaigns have resulted in BIO working together with AFIA and food companies to make sure harmful and non-scientific policy doesn’t pass.”
The American Meat Institute, new to the AFIA and USPOULTRY Expo partnership in 2013, also participated in the Pet Food Conference. Janet Riley, AMI’s senior vice president of public affairs and member service, detailed the crisis communication strategy during last year’s lean finely textured beef scare.
As Riley explained, a variety of factors contributed to the national uproar. These factors included the star power given by famous chefs which was then followed suit by national media personalities, combined with the fact that the initial story involved school lunches and that it was “highly tweetable” with the hashtag #pinkslime.
“Consumers are expecting transparency; otherwise, they will think you are hiding something,” stated Riley.
Last year’s Pet Food Conference attracted more than 200 attendees. The 2013 Pet Food Conference increased participation by 25 percent.
The 2013 International Feed Expo was co-located with USPOULTRY’s International Poultry Expo and the American Meat Institute’s International Meat Expo into a single, large tradeshow. It was hosted in Atlanta, Georgia, from Jan. 29-31, 2013.