Page images

It works out this way; No. 1, that the State Department advised us that we might deal with them in connection with the application and No. 2, they were of the opinion that they were in a position or would be in a position to assure us concerning the adequacy of the Polish inspection and inspection system. In other words, that a prerequisite to the requirement was the ability of the State Department to send people into those locations where the product was produced to satisfy us that adequate system was being applied to the product.

It happens that the only Polish product that comes into this country is the canned Polish ham.

Mr. POAGE. Does the State Department go out and inspect domestic plants or do you report on whether they are operating properly or not? Do you have the State Department go out to Kansas City, for example?

Dr. MILLER. I believe that Dr. Clarkson touched on that point, that the State Department is the only one, in the first place, under the Tariff Act, that contemplates such recognition. In the second place, the State Department is the only arm we can operate through with respect to checking in a foreign country-any foreign country, for that matter.

Mr. POAGE. Maybe I misunderstood you. That is exactly the reverse of the impression I gathered before. I thought that I understood you to say that from time to time you did send technical men from the Department of Agriculture to look into the plants.

Dr. MILLER. That is right. The technical men are sent in when there is reason to make the trip, when there is reason to spend the time and the money necessary to do the checking. The State Department people are in an excellent position, if not to conduct the kind of day-to-day survey that we might conduct if we were therethey are in a position to suspect something short of an adequate control, and we would act on that decision by sending a technical man in. And that has not occurred in Poland.

Mr. POAGE. I do not understand. I do not criticize the State Department at all, but I would not be willing to have the State Department make an inspection of the meat I am to eat. Maybe I have been eating State Department-inspected meat, but I would like to think that I had been eating meat that was inspected by the Department of Agriculture. I fear, the State Department does not know much about the quality of my meat.

Dr. MILLER. May I comment on how this works out in detail? The agricultural attaché is a man with some agricultural background; he is not sent out empty handed when he goes out to evaluate a system of inspection. He is given guides as to the operation of the foreign inspection service in a plant. Those guides enable him to satisfy himself, No. 1, whether there is an adequate inspection organization in the country consistent with the presentations made by that country; No. 2, that there are inspectors, official inspectors, actually in the production line, conducting inspections, that is, a sufficient number. There is abundant opportunity for the agricultural attaché in Poland to do all of this. Were he to suspect that the system were not operating satisfactorily, he would report to us, and we would then send experts in to go into the details.

Mr. POAGE. You have never sent an expert into Poland?


Dr. MILLER. That is right; not because we are not able to, but because all of the reports have been otherwise.

Mr. POAGE. The reports have been satisfactory?
Dr. MILLER. That is right.

Mr. POAGE. Let me make one further suggestion. If as a result of impure or contaminated meat, there should sooner or later be some outbreak of disease from some of this imported meat over which you have had no direct inspection, and then your Department, your Division, is going to get the blame for it, and you are going to be condemned for it instead of being complimented as you have been this morning.

I want to thank you for doing a good job, incidentally. If some people die, however, from impure meat, I do not care whether it comes from Canada, Mexico, Poland, or where it comes from, you will be the ones blamed, and the Department of Agriculture, not the State Department will suffer.

Dr. CLARKSON. I am quite aware of that, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. POAGE. Are there any other questions?

Mr. QUIE. How much inspection is given to boned meat that comes from foreign countries that is used in canned meats in this country, not necessarily the whole of it being meat, but in many cases a large portion of the can being other than meat?

Dr. CLARKSON. Any meat that comes into the country must go through this inspection system that we are talking about here. Mr. QUIE. After it gets in?

Dr. CLARKSON. After it gets into this country-after it has been released for inspection at the ports, it then is inspected. If it then goes into canned meat food products, that has to be prepared under Federal inspection for interstate movement.

There are some things like pork and beans, for example, that, under the law, never have been regarded as meat food products, and that would not come under the inspection. Products like beef stew, for example, if the end product is going to move interstate, must be handled in one of these plants that is under Federal inspection.

Mr. QUIE. In other words, a plant that makes beef stew, meat balls for spaghetti, or anything like that, would have to have a Federal meat inspector there?

Dr. CLARKSON. That is correct.

Mr. QUIE. Thank you.

Mr. HAGEN. I would like to know what portion of the meat or meat products sold in the United States is sold without Federal inspection. Dr. CLARKSON. It is pretty hard to estimate, but apparently it is about 20 percent of the commercial supply.

Mr. HAGEN. Getting back to this bill, let us assume that all of these non-Federal plants were suddenly to seek Federal approval; would it be much cheaper to adopt a program of licensing by State inspection, as you do with the foreign inspection, with a layer of Federal postmortem inspection-would it not be cheaper and more efficient to do that than to have an immediate vast expansion of the Federal service?

Dr. CLARKSON. If they are going to do interstate business and the State wants to pick up the tab for the inspection cost, that would save money for the Federal.

Mr. HAGEN. Even if the postmortem inspection was applied as a check, as in the case of imports?

Dr. CLARKSON. Yes. Although I want to say that under your bill, Mr. Hagen, the stopping of the shipment at some point and reviewing the whole thing would not be done. I do not think that would be a feasible thing for interstate movement in this country. Whatever was done at the initial plant would fit that meat for movement anywhere, which is the basis of the Federal system.

Mr. HAGEN. It is not my intention to criticize your work. I recognize the great overall performance of your agency but I would like to correct any inequities which may exist.

Dr. CLARKSON. Thank you, sir.

Mr. POAGE. Are there any further questions?

Mr. BREEDING. I would like to ask a question. I do not know whether it pertains to this bill.

All of the mail that I get in my office regarding this asks, "Why do we have to have additional imports of mutton and lamb coming into our country? Why do we have to have these Polish hams coming in? Why are we importing more beef into our markets?"

Can you tell me whether we could exist without all of these importations of meat?

Dr. CLARKSON. I have no hesitancy in saying that the American livestock people can produce all of the meat that we need today. The matter of economic controls over importations is not one of my responsibilities. I know that considerations are underway now before the Tariff Commission, in regard to importations of both meat and livestock. I am uninformed as to the progress of those hearings, how


Mr. POAGE. If there are no further questions, we thank you, Dr. Clarkson and Dr. Miller.

Dr. CLARKSON. Thank you.

Mr. POAGE. Can you stay with us while the other witnesses testify? Dr. CLARKSON. I can stay until noontime, if that is agreeable. Mr. POAGE. They may develop something that we would like to ask you about.

Dr. CLARKSON. I will be glad to do that.

Mr. POAGE. I have next on my list as a witness Mr. Herschel Newsom, of the National Grange. He does not seem to be here.

The next witness on our list is Mr. John A. McCart, who is director of legislation of the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO.

We will be glad to hear from you now.


Mr. MCCART. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, before reading my prepared statement, I would like to make a comment and a request. The comment is that our statement is not as comprehensive as it ordinarily would be, because we did not have very much advance notice about the hearings.

However, I trust that we have made our basic points fairly clear. Mr. POAGE. May I interject here to say that this subcommittee has pending before it four or five bills, and I have notified the authors of those bills that they will be heard whenever they can make arrangements to be heard, and not one of them has taken the time to come around except Mr. Hagen and Mr. Teague, who have said that they wanted to be heard. There are only about 2 or 3 days in the month that you can crowd in a hearing up here. This committee room has been in use every day of this week. There has been no other time that we could have hearings. The subcommittee has to have the hearings when we can crowd them in, when officers have to be heard, and we try to set them as expeditiously as we can. I do not know, but there seems to be some feeling that this subcommittee ought to have held this hearing before. If you gentlemen do not want the hearing, I will call it off. Mr. TEAGUE of California. Certainly there is no feeling like that on my part, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. POAGE. We simply cannot hold or announce a hearing when the full committee is going to hold a hearing, so we have to put our hearings in at a time when we can. I know that it does not make it convenient for everybody who wants to be heard, but we hope that the interested parties will be here. We will give you any reasonable time to enlarge on your statement, and to make it as long as you want, but we will have to end this sometime. Can you not prepare all of it next week and present it?

Mr. MCCART. My comment was not intended to be critical. My comment was intended to just provide the background.

Mr. POAGE. We will be glad to have you enlarge upon this brief as much as you want, but we cannot wait too long.

Mr. MCCART. If it meets with the approval of the subcommittee, I will proceed with the statement I have and add supplementary comments within the time limit.

Mr. POAGE. We will be very glad to have you proceed and make any supplementary comments you want, within 10 days.

Mr. MCCART. I also have a request to make. We are an affiliate of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations.

The AFL-CIO has authorized me to ask the committee if the hearings are extended that they have an opportunity to appear, inasmuch as they represent a very large segment of the consumers of our country.

Mr. POAGE. They may appear. We will have to have a hearing when we can have it. I always try to make them as convenient to everybody as possible, but we cannot set the time for every group which wants to be heard in the United States. We cannot set a separate day for the hearing. We will have further open hearings. You may proceed.

Mr. MCCART. I understand.

The three bills now pending in the House and under consideration today by this committee are of material interest to the American Federation of Government Employees. The bills are H.R. 8951, sponsored by Representative Hagen; H.R. 8954, by Representative Horan; and H.R. 9187, by Representative Teague.

Our interest is in a way twofold. We have a large and active membership in the Meat Inspection Service, and naturally do not want anything to happen that would without a compellingly good reason be inimical to their welfare. We are also concerned with maintaining this Federal service at peak efficiency, since we are committed to the welfare of the civil service and at the same time have the solicitude of citizens generally for effective government; and I might add, of consumers, generally.

It is proposed that the Secretary of Agriculture enter into a cooperative arrangement with agencies of the States or of subordinate levels of government whereby persons recommended by a responsible State official would be appointed as inspectors for the purpose of inspecting meat and meat food products. Under such an arrangement, the Secretary would determine the individual plants under the State system to which, upon recommendation by the appropriate State official, inspection service conforming to Federal law would be extended. The Secretary would also determine the individual inspectors to be designated as inspectors acting for the Federal Government.

Perhaps the principal objection to these proposals is that there is no need for such an arrangement. The packers or processors who are now desirous of obtaining Federal inspection can obtain it. Of course, they must qualify for it by maintaining facilities which meet Federal requirements and by channeling some of their product into interstate


It is our understanding that the Federal Government is now able to give inspection to any packer or processor who fulfills these stipulations in the law. The only time the Federal Meat Inspection Service could deny inspection is the lack of compliance with the requirements for the physical plant or because the product does not directly or indirectly move into interstate commerce. For the Service to deny inspection is in effect the granting of an exemption which of course it would have no authority to do.

These bills are predicated on a novel governmental fiscal philosophy. Are they proposing that States or their subdivisions contribute their services to the Federal Government? The usual thinking is that the money should be moving in reverse-as Federal aid to the States.

The question then is who is to pay the cost of this type of cooperative service? Now the cost is borne by the Federal Government. The Meat Inspection Service is prohibited from collecting money from the packers or from State governments or municipalities excepting for the payment for overtime worked by its inspection employees.

If the intent of the bills is to broaden the scope of the Federal Meat Inspection Service, Congress need only to extend the authority of the agency to collect money for service it renders. However, Congress has already indicated that the present arrangement will provide adequate inspection for meat and meat food products moving into interstate commerce.

There is the ever-present danger that the arrangement proposed would lower exisiting inspection standards. This is an effect which we fear very much, and one which should arouse the misgivings of consumers of these products. Congress has very clearly indicated that

« PreviousContinue »