Food safety is such a hot topic in the United States, and while the U.S. meat and poultry regulatory and inspection system is working to ensure that safety, there's always room for improvement, says Jim Hodges, American Meat Institute Executive Vice President.
“A common refrain heard in Washington and other venues is the that U.S. food safety regulatory system is broken and has failed the American people. There is some truth to that argument, but a closer look at our meat and poultry food-safety systems may yield a different conclusion,” Hodges told attendees of a Farm Foundation meeting in Washington, D.C.
He pointed to significant declines in foodborne illnesses associated with meat and poultry consumption, and that about 1 billion meals are consumed safely each day in the United States.. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the pathogens most commonly associated with meat and poultry make up only a fraction of the United States' total foodborne illnesses and related deaths.
Those statistics are not meant to minimize any illness, hospitalization or death associated with food consumption, but to put the risk into context, he aded. “Is the sky falling? No. Still, most rational individuals, including myself, believe food safety can be improved.”
USDA’s meat and poultry inspection system, run by the Food Safety and Inspection Service, is strong, Hodges contends. Some 8,000 inspectors oversee approximately 6,300 domestic meat and poultry operations. He emphasized that plants processing animals are inspected during all hours the plant is operating; pants preparing meat and poultry products are inspected at least daily. An additional 2,000 federal employees provide supervision and support services at a total cost of more than $1 billion dollars.
Source: ThePigSite News Desk