The U.S. House conducted a hearing about "greater transparency" in the meat processing industry. However, reporters on the scene described the event as contentious and did little to produce greater understanding between the packing industry and legislators.
However, the American Meat Institute did take the opportunity to unveil a new web-based initiative that it says will make meat-related information more accessible to consumers.
Richard Raymond, USDA's under secretary for food safety, told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform's subcommittee for domestic policy that USDA doesn't need more inspectors, and that the idea of videotaping meat plants is costly and impractical.
However, reports are that committee members were unimpressed with Raymond's testimony: "We're trying to look for solutions. If you would work with us, that would help," said Rep. Diane Watson (D.-Calif.)
Raymond was the first of 10 witnesses scheduled for the hearing, reports Meatingplace.com
J. Patrick Boyle, AMI's chief executive officer, used his testimony to announce that AMI has launched a YouTube channel called Meat News Network. It is designed to convey consumer-focused information about the meat industry in an "accurate, visual way," Boyle stated.
"We are launching this YouTube Channel with a three-part video that features Temple Grandin (Colorado State University) and other members of our Animal Welfare Committee," Boyle told the committee. "We will soon add new videos on other timely topics so that we can enhance our relationship with the 95 percent of Americans who enjoy our products."
In addition to the animal welfare video, the channel includes videos on food packaging, food safety, the World Cancer Research Fund Report, meat nutrition and environmental concerns.
"It's imperative that we share the facts about our industry and our products in informative and visually compelling ways," Boyle said.