Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) this week introduced
legislation giving USDA authority to initiate mandatory meat product
recalls, a bill he first introduced in 2003.
Under current law, USDA does not have the authority to issue a
mandatory recall; rather, the agency asks the company involved to
recall the product.
"This forces the USDA to engage in time-consuming negotiations
with meatpackers before pulling tainted meat from store shelves, and it
gives meatpackers an effective veto on recalls," Udall said in a
news release about the proposed legislation.
Not so, says former USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Richard
"The USDA does not negotiate with industry when a meat or poultry
recall is necessary to protect the public's health, and no company has
ever refused to recall product when the USDA has requested that they do
so," he told Meatingplace. "This is unnecessary
legislation and actually may be a hindrance to a system that does not