March 6, 1998


OAKLAND, CA -- National Meat Association has written to Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman pointing out severe deficiencies in proposed FSIS Rules of Practice for HACCP-based inspection and recommending alternative language which "would meet constitutional and statutory requirements." FSIS had promised to implement HACCP Rules of Practice prior to January 1998, but only published proposed rules on January 12, 1998 after NMA and ten other trade associations wrote to Secretary Glickman.

The NMA comment points out that the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution requires that no person "be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law," and that the Administrative Procedure Act requires that before a government license, such as inspection is withdrawn, the licensee is entitled to receive notice and an opportunity to demonstrate or achieve compliance. NMA comments that the FSIS proposal does not comply with these constitutional and legal requirements and that "in fact the Federal Meat Inspection Act actually provides more due process to a convicted felon than the proposed Rules of Practice would provide to a meat packer who experiences several defects which represent no imminent threat to health or safety."

With its comment, NMA recommends language to provide an inspected establishment with notice about what is in non-compliance and an opportunity to demonstrate or come into compliance prior to being closed down, except where there is some imminent hazard to health. The recommended language is designed to meet the requirements of the Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act.

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 has over 600 members throughout the United States and additional members in Canada, Australia and Mexico.