AMI, Other Industry Associations, Call For Additional 'Safe Harbors' For Meat & Poultry Industry

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AMI, in partnership with a number of industry associations, is urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Agriculture Research Service (ARS) to strongly support a preventive approach to assure food safety, which includes additional scientific documents, frequently referred to as “safe harbors,” for the meat and poultry industry.

“These documents are essential to the meat and poultry industry, especially the small and very small processors, who may not have the resources, facilities or the expertise to perform the type of food safety validation these documents provide,” said the organizations in a letter to the agencies.

This need for additional scientific documents was made even more apparent when the Food Safety and Inspection Service shared their updated thoughts on validation within the current definition of a HACCP system in March 2010.

The organizations are calling on ARS and FSIS to collaborate to develop additional scientific documents similar to the FSIS’s 1999 Appendix A-Compliance Guidelines for Meeting Lethality Performance Standards for Certain Meat and Poultry Products and Appendix B-Compliance Guidelines for Cooling Heat-Treated Meat and Poultry Products (Stabilization). Appendices A and B have provided food safety guidance to the meat and poultry industry.

“There is a definite need for more safe harbors such as Appendices A and B that are applicable to a broader segment of the meat and poultry industry. These new documents should be developed for a variety of meat and poultry products and take into consideration differences in product composition like fat, protein and sodium levels, which may affect time-temperature lethality relationships. This type of research is appropriate for ARS and FSIS as it fits under both agencies’ missions and addresses the prevention principle as outlined by the White House Food Safety Working Group,” stated the organizations.

“We believe a collaborative effort between ARS and FSIS to develop additional scientific food safety documents will greatly improve the safety of meat and poultry products. The undersigned organizations are willing to work with the agencies to identify the greatest research needs as it is important that the research topics have broad application to food safety efforts within the meat and poultry industry,” the letter concluded.

To view the letter, click here:

Source: American Meat Institute

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