To: NMA General Members
Fr: Ken Mastracchio, Associate Director
Regulatory Issues, NMA
Re: Small Business Administration

May 13, 2003

For the past several years National Meat Associationís regulatory staff has participated in the Small Business Regulatory Fairness roundtable meetings to present testimony on regulatory issues affecting small businesses in the Federal compliance and enforcement environment. The testimony presented at the roundtable meetings is of great importance, as it may become part of the National Ombudsman Report to Congress.

The roundtable meetings provide small businesses, in accordance with the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, a forum for the presentation, review and settlement of complaints stemming from a Federal compliance or enforcement action. Mr. Michael Barrera, National Ombudsman, Small Business Administration, addressed NMAís Board of Directors and encouraged members to participate in the process by providing both negative and positive experiences related to their interactions with Federal Regulatory Agencies.

In conjunction with this process a SBA representative requested NMA to contact its members for documented experiences of compliance and regulatory actions related to the development and implementation of HACCP. The NMA regulatory staff would treat all related documentation received as privileged and confidential and compile a report void of specific individuals, locations, or any other information, which would compromise the identity of the participants providing information.

Our sources indicate that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is prepared to present a report to Congress which claims that all problems associated with the HACCP system have been or are currently being addressed. In truth, FSIS has not adequately addressed a number of HACCP related inadequacies, such as mandated regulatory requirements being incompatible with HACCP principles, unqualified or improperly trained inspection field staff, and the inconsistent and inequitable application of regulatory standards which differ from one District to the next.

Your participation in this process is immensely important in order to address an abusive system which appears to be more concerned with portraying itself to the public as the victim who is unable to address industry-related food safety issues because it supposedly lacks the necessary regulatory authority. Proponents of this theme lobby for criminal and monetary penalties and do a disservice to the consumers by undermining the confidence in an industry that embraces scientific food safety principles in order to produce the safest food products in the world.

Please forward you experiences to the NMA regulatory staff. Documentation should be organized chronologically with a brief explanation of circumstances, regulatory requirements alleged to be involved, whether or not down time or the loss of product was incurred, and the current status of the incident.

In addition to providing the information to SBA, Shawna Thomas, NMA Government Relations Liaison, can interact directly on a memberís behalf with their congressional representative if so directed. Please contact Ken Mastracchio at 510-763-1533 or [email protected] if you have any questions or concerns. Please send your comments to Shawna Thomas, FAX 202-234-3583, e-mail [email protected] or Ken Mastracchio, FAX 510-763-6186, e-mail [email protected] by COB May 30, 2003.

 

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