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American Meat Institute Board Approves Special Assessment To Fund New Food Safety Efforts

Monday, May 24, 1999

Members of the American Meat Institute (AMI) Board of Directors voted to assess themselves 150 percent of dues for two years to fund efforts dedicated to enhancing the safety of the meat and poultry supply. All AMI general members have been asked to voluntarily assess themselves, as well.

The voluntary contributions are expected to total nearly $5 million. The funds will be used to fund research into new technologies that can be used to prevent the occurrence of Listeria monocytogenes (L.m.) on ready-to-eat meat products and E.coli O157:H7 on fresh beef. Some funds also will be used to enhance consumer knowledge about how to prevent foodborne illness.

In the area of Listeria, projects are expected to include research into new sanitizers for use in plants, post-packaging pasteurization technologies, like hot water baths and irradiation, new food ingredients that help prevent the growth of L.m. and more rapid test methods to detect L.m.

In the area of E. coli O157:H7, projects are expected to include development of new hide and carcass sampling methods to test for the presence of the pathogen, a study of the incidence and ecology of E. coli O157:H7 on cattle coming into packing plants and research into new treatments to reduce the presence of the pathogen in live cattle. The Foundation also will fund efforts to educate consumers about how to prevent E. coli O157:H7 infections.

“It is in this industry’s best interest to provide the safest possible food to our customers,” said AMIF Chairman J. Patrick Boyle. “The state of the science on meat microbiology has left us with knowledge and technology gaps, however. Through this new initiative, we hope to close those gaps and ultimately eliminate these pathogens.”

The Foundation has issued requests for proposals for a wide array of research products and expects to award contracts and initiate research this Summer.

“The tasks ahead of us are formidable,” AMIF President James H. Hodges said. “But the U.S. meat and poultry industry is committed to finding new and cutting edge ways to ensure that we maintain our status as producers of the safest and highest quality meat and poultry in the world.”

AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North America. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute provides legislative, regulatory and public relations services, conducts scientific and economic research, offers marketing and technical assistance and sponsors education programs.

The AMI Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to research, education and information that benefit the meat and poultry industry. Originally created in 1944, the AMI Foundation today solicits grants from government, industry and other organizations to fund a broad range of food safety, worker safety, nutrition and consumer information projects.

For more information contact:
Janet Riley
Vice President, Public Affairs
James Ratchford
Manager, Public Affairs

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