October 17, 2012
By Kimberly J. Decker, Contributing Editor
Regulating the meat and poultry industry, and ensuring the safety of every American who enjoys the odd hot dog, hamburger or turkey sandwich, is ultimately a team effort, says Kerri Harris, Ph.D., associate professor of meat science, Texas A&M, and director, International HACCP Alliance, College Station, TX.
While the Food Safety and Inspection Service branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides daily inspection and regulatory oversight," Harris says, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration plays an essential role in the approval of new food additives, including food antimicrobials, and development of guidelines for processing some products"canned meats, for example.
Approval of novel compounds for sanitizing meat processing facilities falls to the EPA, while individual states may write differing guidelines for facilities that do not ship product across state lines," Harris says. States also flex their muscles in instances where they implement their own inspection programs in addition to the federal inspection of some establishments. But dont think theyre getting a pass: These programs must be equal-to the federal programs," she says. Or else.
For more on this topic, see "Lessons Learned: A New Era for Meat and Poultry Safety."
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