OAKLAND, CA -- Beginning with the Grinders Meeting, a standing room only event held at National Meat Association's 52nd Annual Convention in San Francisco, California, NMA member meat grinders have taken steps to scientifically plan the future of food safety at their establishments. The grinders held an all day meeting on March 4, 1998 in Los Angeles with expert Dr. Kerri Harris, of Texas A&M University, to develop Guidelines for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for manufacturing ground beef. Those Guidelines are now finished.

"These guidelines are the result of a responsible industry. Meat grinders are continuing to make the utmost effort to ensure the safety of their product in a systematic and scientific manner," said NMA Communications Manager Jeremy Russell.

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) welcomed the new Guidelines in a public notice and invited NMA to present them at a meeting on April 22, 1998. The agency furthermore announced that it was open to the idea of a collaboratively produced document. Such close cooperation between industry and government is a welcome approach to the creation and implementation of procedures which will enhance food safety.

A complete set of the documents, titled "Guidelines for Developing GMPs and SOPs for Raw Ground Product," is available at NMA's website ( and will be placed at the USDA/FSIS website shortly.

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.