The North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute) is again announcing its opposition to the Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption Act, or the PRIME Act, for the risk it poses to food safety.

“American consumers rely on rigorous USDA inspection to ensure the safety and quality of their meat and poultry,” said Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts. “Allowing meat to enter commerce without inspection – and without alerting consumers they are buying uninspected meat -- jeopardizes food safety and will undermine consumer confidence in all meat products.”

The PRIME Act was reintroduced in the U.S. House by Representatives Thomas Massie (R- Ky.) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine). U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have introduced the same bill in the Senate.

The PRIME Act would amend the Federal Meat Inspection Act to allow custom slaughter facilities to sell uninspected meat directly to consumers, restaurants and foodservice, as well as at retail.

Under The Federal Meat Inspection Act, custom slaughter facilities harvest livestock for the personal use of the owner of the animal. The food produced may not enter commerce. There is no continuous inspection and no veterinarian required to assess the health of the livestock.

Federally inspected facilities, and state inspected facilities with cooperative agreements with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), have inspectors continuously conducting oversight of operations to ensure the safety and quality of meat and poultry and the health and wellness of the livestock. Should a problem occur, products bearing the mark of USDA inspection can be traced to protect consumers.

“It is important for the American economy and the entire meat value chain that the safety of our meat and poultry is never taken for granted. The meat and poultry industry, and the taxpayer, has invested billions of dollars in food safety protections, research and infrastructure to ensure we have the safest meat in the world,” said Potts. “While this bill may be well intentioned, it poses especially unnecessary risks given the many resources available to help new and small facilities gain inspection from FSIS.”

Those resources include more than $1 billion in federal technical assistance and financial assistance in the following USDA administered programs:


Source: North American Meat Institute