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STATEMENT OF JAMES H. HODGES
VICE PRESIDENT, AMERICAN MEAT INSTITUTE
REGARDING FEDERAL MEAT INSPECTION QUALITY
BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS
MAY 15, 1987
The American Meat Institute (AMI) is the national trade association that represents all segments of the meat packing and processing industry. I am 8 vice president of the AMI and work with several of our key membership committees including the Meat Inspection Committee. Prior to joining AMI in 1983 I worked in
the Meat and Poultry Inspection Technical Services program at USDA. From this perspective I welcome the opportunity to provide this statement for the record on issues of central importance to inspection quality and productivity, microbiolog
ical safety and consumer education.
MEAT INSPECTION QUALITY AND PRODUCTIVITY
The meat industry is the most intensively and comprehensively regulated component of the U.S. food supply. Federal meat inspection is comprised of several programs plant and equipment approval, product labeling approval, antemortem and post mortem slaughter inspection as well sure that all meat and meat food products comply with sanitation
as processing inspection
and product standards requirements.
To carry out these programs
FSIS employs nearly 8000 field personnel in approximately 7200 federally inspected meat and poutry establishments.
This public investment in inspection has yielded positive results. The 1986 National Academy of Sciences study on the scientific basis of the nation's meat and poultry inspection program reported the program has generally been effective in protecting public health. The NAS committee did make certain recommendations aimed at developing programs to ensure that the inspection system continues to efficiently protect the public
An AMI task force reviewed the study and provided its recommendations to the Department. The task force agreed with NAS that solutions to many of the most significant public health issues lie in the use of improved scientific evaluation and advanced technologies and not simply the addition of more inspectors. I have provided the Committee with a copy of the task foce report and would request that is be made of part of the permanent record of this hearing.
Progress has been made toward improvement of meat inspection efficiency though passage of the Procesed Products Improvement Act of 1986. The Act recognizes that it is time for the Department to target inspection resources toward those areas which have the greatest public health significance. We recognize, however, that more work can and should be done in this area.
In February, 1986 AMI appointed a Task Force for Meat Inspection Efficiency for the purpose of identifying specific areas in