Senator proposes mandatory meat recalls

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By Rita Jane Gabbett on 7/30/2009


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 really

Not so, says former USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Richard Raymond.

"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 need fixed."


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