Meat Institute: Properly prepared beef remains safe

Source: Farm Progress. The original article is posted here.

Meat Institute: Properly prepared beef remains safe

As the USDA issued a nationwide order including requiring lactating dairy cows to test negative for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) before interstate transport, the Meat Institute maintains that properly prepared beef remains safe to eat and called for USDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide worker safety guidance specific to beef processors to ensure workers are protected from infection.

“USDA and CDC are working overtime to understand the spread of the virus and to determine its effects on the health of people and animals,” said Julie Anna Potts, president and CEO of the Meat Institute. “We encourage USDA and CDC to conduct additional testing and monitoring to continue to ensure properly prepared beef remains safe to eat.

“We are also calling on USDA and CDC to issue additional, specific guidance for beef processing facilities to ensure USDA inspectors and meat company workers are protected from infection.

“It is important to ensure the free flow of healthy animals to slaughter. The Meat Institute and its members will continue to work with USDA, state and local veterinarians and our cattle producer partners to both stop the spread of the virus and to ensure beef production continues.

“We call on Biden Administration officials to anticipate international trade concerns and encourage our trading partners to abide by internationally recognized scientific standards as determined by the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH).”

Dairy cows make-up 6.8% of total beef production in the United States.

The Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1906 and the Poultry Products Inspection Act of 1957, along with the many regulations and policies put in place to implement those acts, ensure the meat and poultry industry is among the most intensely regulated industries in the nation. USDA inspectors from the Food Safety and Inspection Service are present every day in meat packing plants and are trained to detect disease both prior to slaughter and after.

Meat Institute members have robust food safety programs that incorporate key elements such as employee training, pathogen or indicator organism tracking and analysis, foreign material control and prevention, sanitation and allergen control.

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has a strong HPAI surveillance program. It tracks detections in mammals in addition to wild bird, commercial and backyard flocks.

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