AMI Tells Congress Meat and Poultry
Industry Is Meeting Challenge of Continuously Improving Food Safety
of Article: http://www.meatami.com/ht/display/ArticleDetails/i/51666
Thursday, July 16, 2009
meat and poultry industry has been working successfully to meet
the challenge of continuously improving the safety of meat and
poultry products, said AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle, who
today testified before the House Committee on Agriculture.
the hearing, Boyle shared with the Committee some of the significant
safety improvements the meat and poultry industry has made and the important
role government oversight plays in assuring that the industry meets its
responsibility to produce safe food.
also noted that the meat and poultry industry has been a strong advocate of
a preventative approach and in fact petitioned the United States Department
of Agriculture (USDA) to mandate Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point
(HACCP) plans in meat and poultry plants.
have a strong meat and poultry inspection system, but it’s important to
recognize only the industry can produce safe food,” Boyle said.
“While food processors and handlers can minimize risks through the use of
good management practices, we cannot guarantee with absolute certainty that
all food products are free from all risks. But progress continues to be made,”
Boyle said, government data show a decline in pathogen prevalence on meat
and poultry products.
also addressed a number of issues related to the current food safety
debate, including whether microbiological performance standards are a
answer is they can be if properly constructed to achieve a public health
objective and if they are scientifically based to measure whether food is
safe and not injurious to public health,” Boyle said. “Conversely, I
would suggest that a performance standard based solely on achieving an
arbitrary outcome that yields no public health benefit is inappropriate.”
it comes to enhancing the enforcement powers of the inspection agencies,
including civil monetary penalties and other sanctions, Boyle said very
severe penalties already are in place. Boyle also addressed the issue of
mandatory recall ignores a simple fact: Industry has every incentive
to remove contaminated product from the marketplace to reduce potential
liability,” Boyle said. “Experience shows us that the speed with
which contaminated meat and poultry product is removed from the market will
not improve with mandatory recall. In most cases, meat and poultry
products are recalled within hours after a problem is discovered.
And FSIS' product detention and retention authority
provides significant leverage to compel a voluntary recall."
final concern Boyle addressed is imposition of a user fee that would be
paid by the regulated industry for food safety inspection services.
Similar proposals for meat and poultry inspection at USDA have been
rejected by Congress annually for nearly 30 years.
inspection services have long been paid for with government funds because
those inspections are activities that benefit the general public,” Boyle
said. “Inspection activities should be funded not from user or registration
fees that, in effect, are a food tax, but from monies appropriated out of
the general treasury.”
also shared with the committee a number of suggestions AMI feels will
improve food safety and expressed the industry’s desire to work with Obama
Administrations’ White House Food Safety Working Group on implementing
effective programs that benefit consumers, the industry, and our public
institutions that safeguard the nation's food supply.
view a copy of Boyle’s submitted testimony in its entirety, click here: http://www.meatami.com/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/51655.
see the slides that accompany Boyle’s remarks, including relevant charts,
click here: http://www.meatami.com/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/51653.