Header graphic for print
Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

National Cattleman’s Association has “Beef” with Food Safety Legislation

Kate Ackley of Roll Call reports that "[t]he meat industry has a beef with food safety legislation that is making its way through the House Energy and Commerce Committee."

The ‘beef" seems to break down to industry costs:

“Right now, this is a bill we just don’t support,” said Colin Woodall, executive director of legislative affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “We are very much in support of food safety, but this bill would have a lot of unintended consequences and would add more costly regulations and won’t actually translate into safer food.”

The "beef" seems that the industry likes being overseen by the USDA:

Woodall said meat producers are also concerned about the precedent this bill could set in giving the Food and Drug Administration regulatory authority over the industry, which is currently watched over by the Department of Agriculture. The cattlemen’s group also takes issue with mandatory recalls and says voluntary recalls work better. The industry worries that the bill would require government inspectors on farms, Woodall said.

The "beef" seems to be – we don’t need no damn inspectors – and its the consumers responsibility anyway:

“There is no need to have FDA inspectors come on farms or cattle operations,” Woodall said. “There are too many other processes and steps between the time it leaves the farm and gets to the consumer, including the way the consumer handles the product when they get it home. It would give a false sense of security to the consumer.”

The "beef" seems to be that FDA does not have the funds that we do not support anyway:

Dave Warner, a spokesman for the National Pork Producers Council, said his group has a number of concerns about the legislation, with on-farm inspections being among the top. “FDA doesn’t not have the personnel, and it doesn’t have the expertise,” he said.

  • Summer

    The last comment regarding the FDA not having the expertise for on-farm inspections is the most important point. Farmers already have the waste management people on their farms that know absolutely nothing about farming or livestock production. It’s an immediate frustration for the producer, and often very intimidating for the inspector. Inspecting cattle operations prior to slaughter–or “harvesting” as we are supposed to call it now–will be nothing but a huge expense that will have no effect on food safety to the end user.
    What exactly would they be inspecting for? Producers can’t afford sick cattle, so you better believe they are paying much more attention to their 4-legged moneymakers than anything else.
    SO much of the world is SO uninformed on what is really involved in raising any animal for food.

  • http://www.marlerblog.com Bill Marler

    The committee pushing this bill oversees the FDA – not USDA. However, many food safety issues clearly overlap. I tend to agree that until, or if, we merge the food safety functions of USDA and FDA, USDA should continue its jurisdiction over meat production – from farm to fork.