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MEAT PACKERS REQUEST CERTIFICATES TO ENSURE BSE-FREE LIVESTOCK

Friday, March 16, 2001
 

Washington, DC -- The American Meat Institute (AMI) Board of Directors has approved a new, voluntary certification initiative in which cattle marketers would be asked by their beef packing customers to certify that their livestock met all Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements regarding the BSE feed ban.

AMI has distributed a model certificate to its member companies, describing it as a "best business practice." The document also certifies that animal drugs were used legally on the livestock being sold.

The model certificate "responds to requests from many of our industry's customers," said AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle. "We want to reassure both our customers and consumers that the cattle we process into beef products meet all federal requirements, including their diets and medications." Boyle said the model certificate was developed in consultation with numerous meat and livestock organizations.

Concurrently, the animal feed industry and the rendering industry are working to launch their own certification programs. The groups are working with independent, private sector organizations to audit manufacturing facilities to ensure that they meet FDA requirements related to BSE prevention. For the feed industry, those requirements include the segregation of cattle and sheep byproducts from other livestock and poultry byproducts. For the rendering industry, proper labeling and documentation are required.

"These private sector certification initiatives for cattle, feed and rendered products do not replace FDA's own inspection programs," Boyle commented. "However, they do add an extra level of surveillance and assurance to our customers and consumers that the industries involved in cattle ranching and beef processing are in compliance with FDA regulations and continue to make every effort to reinforce the U.S. firewalls that have kept BSE out of this country."

The text of the AMI model certificate reads:

The undersigned certifies that, to the best of his/her/its knowledge, none of the livestock described herein are adulterated within the meaning of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (i.e., none of the cattle or other ruminants have been fed any feed containing protein derived from mammalian tissues not in compliance with 21 CFR 589.2000 and none of the livestock have an illegal level of drug residues.)

AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North American. 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.


For more information contact:
Janet Riley
Vice President, Public Affairs
703-841-2400
jriley@meatinstitute.org
Josee Daoust
Manager, Public Affairs
703-841-2400
jdaoust@meatinstitute.org

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