Senator introduces Safe Meat and Poultry Act

RawMeatAssortment_blogA new bill aims to create mandatory pathogen reduction standards and improve consumer notification of recalls.

The bill, called the Safe Meat and Poultry Act, was introduced in last Friday by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York. Gillibrand is the chair of the Agriculture Committee on Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Marketing and Agriculture Security. The bill’s introduction followed a Government Accountability Office report regarding a U.S. Department of Agriculture pilot program for poultry inspections. USDA has maintained the program allows inspectors to better identify issues in poultry processing plants while also saving money. However, opponents of the program say the program will exacerbate issues, not fix them.

In addition to creating pathogen reduction standards, the bill also seeks to provide protection to whistleblowers, expand USDA’s authority to regulate new pathogens, enhance enforcement actions and penalties, make sure audits are regularly used to protect against unsafe or adulterated imported meat and poultry products and increase the emphasis on prevention.

“As I cook dinner for my family most nights, I want to know what I am serving is safe for my children to eat,” Gillibrand said in a statement. “This legislation contains practical measures to ensure no American gambles with their health when purchasing poultry or meat product. Not only would we reduce foodborne illness, but we also strengthen our nation’s agriculture and food industry.”

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