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AMI Board of Directors Agrees To Make Food Safety a Non-Competitive Issue

Friday, October 19, 2001


AMI Will Help Facilitate Exchange of Valuable Information to Enhance Meat and Poultry Supply

Washington, DC, October 19, 2001 – The American Meat Institute (AMI) Board of Directors yesterday agreed to make food safety a non-competitive issue by sharing food safety information freely amongst all AMI member companies. The Board made its decision during a meeting held at AMI’s International Meat, Poultry and Seafood Convention and Exposition in Chicago.

“Many years ago, meat and poultry companies may have viewed food safety information as proprietary,” said AMI President J. Patrick Boyle. “But over time that view has changed. In recent years, companies have been informally sharing food safety information and technology with industry colleagues. In fact, in the last two years, scientists from a number of leading AMI member companies have worked with the Institute to develop and share preventive strategies to control Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat meat and poultry facilities.”

In 1999, AMI launched a Food Safety Initiative through its Foundation funded with more than $3.6 million in voluntary contributions from AMI members. The goal of the effort: to research new ways reduce and ultimately eliminate E. coli O157:H7 in fresh meat and Listeria monocytogenes on processed products. This cooperative effort has funded 18 research projects which are yielding valuable food safety data. This successful effort has encouraged industry members to continue working together in a non-competitive way to enhance food safety.

As a result of yesterday’s Board decision, AMI will develop a formal process to share and assess valuable information developed within individual companies. For example, a meat company’s voluntary testing efforts for bacteria on products or in plants could yield valuable information about how, why and where various bacteria grow.

“Members of the meat and poultry industry recognize that ensuring optimal food safety is good for everyone’s customers – and everyone’s businesses,” Boyle said.

This is not the first time the AMI Board has taken such an action. In the early 1990s, AMI’s Board voted to make worker safety a non-competitive issue and began sharing innovative ideas and information among members to enhance worker safety. Worker illness and injury rates throughout the 1990s show that total injury and illness incidents were cut by more than one-third while lost time incidents were cut by two-thirds.

“Our industry has made great strides in enhancing food safety,” said Boyle. “Government data reflect reduced microbial contamination on both fresh and processed products. Our hope is that by taking the same approach to food safety that we took a decade ago to worker safety, we can make the U.S. meat and poultry supply even safer.”

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.

For more information contact:
Janet Riley
Vice President, Public Affairs
Josee Daoust
Manager, Public Affairs

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