Statement of the American Meat Institute on The Consumer Recall Notification ActFriday, March 19, 2010
“Food safety is the meat industry’s top priority. The livelihood and reputation of our businesses depend on the consumer confidence in our products that we’ve established over many years. Although the food safety profile of our products continues to improve, it is not perfect. But we are continuously working toward that goal.
We support removing from the marketplace meat and poultry products that are subject to recall and doing so as quickly as possible. However, the requirement in the proposed “Consumer Recall Notification Act” that a distributor of a product must notify restaurants and stores within 24 hours of a public announcement of a product recall does not recognize the complexity and scope of the food distribution process.
In some instances, the 24-hour time frame that would be mandated by the bill likely could be met. In other circumstances, however, because of the complexity of the food distribution system, in terms of the number of parties that may be involved and the layers of customers that may have received or used a product, it can take several days – perhaps up to three or four – not hours, for everyone who is affected by a recall to be identified.
It is important that when we legislate and regulate rules concerning food safety and recalls, the requirements be not only meaningful, but achievable. Although the measure is certainly well-intentioned, we cannot support a bill that would mandate a requirement that is impossible to achieve for many companies no matter how hard they try.”
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