MEAT+POULTRY - April 2015 - (Page 14)

WA S H I N G T O N Advisors' idle hands at issue Most federal government departments and agencies have "advisory committees" that are set up to help them carry out their responsibilities. Some are made up of experts in areas related to the government department they advise. Other committees' members come from a wide variety of backgrounds that would be helpful to the department or agency in accomplishing its work. The Secretary of Agriculture appoints an advisory committee for the US Dept. of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) that concentrates on meat and poultry inspection. The National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection (NACMPI) is assigned to look at how FSIS carries out its regulation and inspection duties. It's supposed to advise the secretary on issues affecting federal and state inspection. Unlike some other government advisory committees, the members of NACMPI come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and "The committee represent most of the competing interests the meat and poultry is supposed inspection agency has to deal to serve as with. That's intentional. The idea is for the secretary of agriculture a forum for and FSIS officials to be exposed significant to all the issues and arguments sharing of affecting how meat and poultry inspection is carried out. ideas and According to USDA, the insight..." committee is supposed to serve as a forum for significant sharing of ideas and insight about how the meat and poultry regulatory system can best serve both consumers and industry. In fact, the membership of the advisory committee has been widened, with members of the advisory committee coming from organizations and interests representing consumers, big companies and small processors, academia, state agriculture and health departments and even one member listed as a "private individual." This all sounds good. But the problem is that USDA gives its advisory committee very little to do. The organization meets very infrequently. In fact, during 14 MEAT+ POULTRY | 04.15 | www.meatpoultry.com the past six years, NACMPI has met only once a year. And when it does meet, USDA doesn't give the advisory committee much of a workload. EXAMINING ISSUES Take the most-recent meeting, which took place in Washington, DC on Jan. 13-14. The committee looked at two issues: (1) How FSIS evaluates and manages chemical hazards within the National Residue Program, and (2) A cost-calculation model for the Economic Research Service. FSIS wanted NACMPI to provide feedback on how the agency is managing chemical hazards within the residue program. Specifically, the agency wants to know if the committee agrees with the agency approach, and if not, what it should do. The committee said it supports the program, but thinks FSIS needs to tell its stakeholders - industry, consumers, the public and others - what the National Residue Program is and why it's important...if it is. Then the committee got into more specifics about what how the agency could do this. But the real question is how important to public health is the National Residue Program? Since there's a been a great ignorance about it and FSIS hasn't exactly killed itself to tell the world about the program, how important is it really to the base mission of FSIS, which is to make sure that meat, poultry and processed egg products are safe for American consumers? Since the Economic Research Service is planning its five-year update of cost-of-illness estimates, FSIS wants to know what additional hazards should be considered. Then FSIS asked the committee how it should develop disease estimates if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn't have such estimates. The committee said it believes the current list of 15 pathogens is adequate. Well, what else was the committee going to say about the list of 15 pathogens? It also recommended FSIS continue to work with CDC to identify disease estimates. What else would the committee say, except that CDC should develop them because it's the agency in charge of doing that. I've watched the NACMPI for a long time and attended some of its meetings. There's been criticism of FSIS by committee members because sometimes members didn't even receive meeting materials until the day of the meeting. The committee could be very helpful in improving poultry and meat inspection in the US. The committee needs to meet more frequently and be given more important work to do. B E R N A R D S H I R E | MEATPOULTRY@SOSL AND.COM http://www.meatpoultry.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MEAT+POULTRY - April 2015

MEAT+POULTRY - April 2015
TABLE OF CONTENTS
COMMENTARY - The not-so-great outdoors
BUSINESS NOTES - MCDONALD’S ANTIBIOTICS POLICY SPARKS REACTION
SANDERSON NAMES SITE FOR NEW POULTRY PLANT
TYSON PLANT TO UNDERGO $47M UPGRADE
WAYNE FARMS FILES FOR IPO
OMP TO ACQUIRE CONAGRA PLANT
WASHINGTON - Advisors’ idle hands at issue
BURGER REPORT - Graze Craze
OVERCOMING OFF-FLAVORS
FRESH MATTERS
SLIDING INTO FIRST
FOOD SAFETY - SHORING-UP GROUND-BEEF SAFETY
SMALL BUSINESS MATTERS - New kid on the block
PACKAGING SOLUTIONS - MAKING A CASE
INDUSTRY EDUCATION - AGGIE-STYLE MEAT EDUCATION
INGREDIENT ISSUES - CLEANING UP
LIFERS - A MAN OF DISTINCTION
SHOW PREVIEW - PROCESSORS UNITE
FROM THE CORRAL - Handling keeps improving
SHOWCASE
NAMES IN THE NEWS
CLASSIFIEDS
ADVERTISERS
THE INSIDER

MEAT+POULTRY - April 2015

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