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AMI Reiterates Request to USDA to Implement Policy that Would Require Companies to Hold FSIS-Tested Control Product Until Results Are Received

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

(American Meat Institute)

The American Meat Institute (AMI) is urging the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to act on AMI’s previous request to implement a policy that would require companies to control product tested by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) until the test results are known.

 In a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle stated that more than 80 percent of the recalls due to the presence of E. coli O157:H7 and all recalls due to the presence of Listeria monocytogenes during 2009 could have been prevented if the product tested for adulterants by either the establishment or FSIS had not entered commerce until test results were available.

Boyle said that AMI has consistently recommended that companies adopt the practice of controlling sampled product to avoid a recall in the event the test result is positive.  In 2005, AMI, along with several other organizations and with assistance and encouragement from FSIS, mailed to every small and very small federally inspected establishment a best practices document encouraging them to control tested product until the results are known.

“Enhancing food safety is the Institute’s top priority.  We hope you will join the industry in supporting a policy that product tested by FSIS, subject to company lotting and control procedures, not be allowed to enter, or be used in product that would enter, commerce until the test results become available.  Such a policy should not consist of agency retention of any FSIS tested product, but rather require a company to utilize its own, effective control measures that ensure the product is not used or distributed for sale before the test results are known,” Boyle concluded.

 To view a copy of the letter, click here: www.meatinstitute.org/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/54244

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