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USDA Rejects Activist Group's Petition to Declare Feces an Adulterant.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

(North American Meat Institute)

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) rejected a petition from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) asking FSIS to declare fecal contamination an adulterant under federal meat and poultry inspection laws. FSIS's response came a year after PCRM sued USDA for a response to their petition that was first filed in 2013. PCRM's petition demanded FSIS deem feces as an adulterant, require labels disclosing the presence of feces and remove the word "wholesome" from the official legend for poultry, then include an explicit warning that the product may contain feces. PCRM based its petition on the group's own study that concluded "feces" was found on 48 percent of the 120 chicken products it tested from grocery stores across 10 U.S. cities. FSIS, however, pointed out that PCRM's correlation between bacterial contamination and fecal contamination was misleading and unfounded. FSIS's current inspection laws already apply a "zero tolerance" policy to fecal contamination.

FSIS' response mirrors comments the Meat Institute provided to media who recently covered the issue. "It's no surprise that the pseudo-medical animal rights group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine doesn't know the difference between fecal contamination and bacteria on meat products. There is a zero tolerance for feces on meat carcasses, meaning it is not allowed. If an inspector finds contamination, a carcass must be cleaned, trimmed or condemned," the Meat Institute said.

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