FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2001
OAKLAND, CA – The U.S. meat industry has long been committed to assuring the production of meat and poultry that is safe for Americans to eat. As part of its commitment, and as an obligation of law, slaughterers and processors work cooperatively with government inspectors to ensure that the highest standards are met.
At a time of heightened concerns about the safety of many essential goods and services, consumers should know that all commercially produced meat and poultry products are produced under stringent rules that are designed to identify and remove unacceptable hazards. These systems, known as HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point), were first designed to assure food safety for the early astronauts in space and have now been adapted to meet or exceed the requirements of the meat and poultry laws. They include evaluation of systems to protect consumers against physical, biological and chemical hazards in the food supply.
Each commercial meat or poultry facility develops a HACCP plan specific to its business operation. The assigned government inspectors conduct inspection tasks designed to assure compliance with the plan and have authority to take action against deficiencies. Further – and this is unique to the inspection of meat and poultry – all livestock and birds entering the food supply are subject to ante and post mortem (before and after slaughter) inspection by government inspectors under the direct supervision of a government veterinarian inspector. These processes, in place since the early 20th century, are constantly improved as new science and technology become available.
Finally, meat and poultry processors have implemented process control systems to assure product safety, quality and consistency that will enhance their capability to protect the food supply during these critical times.
National Meat Association is a non-profit trade association representing meat packers and processors, as well as equipment manufacturers and suppliers who provide services to the meat industry. The association, with over 600 members throughout the United States, includes membership in Canada, Australia and Mexico.