WASHINGTON – The American Meat Institute last week told the U.S. Department of Agriculture that it would support a policy requiring companies to control products being tested until the test results are known.

The AMI, according to a statement, told Under Secretary for Food Safety Richard Raymond in a letter that it would support a policy that products tested by the Food Safety and Inspection Service , subject to company lotting and control procedures, not be allowed to enter, or be used in product that would enter, commerce until the test results become available. AMI said that such a policy should not consist of agency retention of any FSIS tested product, but rather require a company to utilize its own, effective control measures that ensure the product is not used or distributed for sale before the test results are known.

AMI said in the letter that it has long advocated as a best practice that companies retain control of sampled product to avoid a recall in the event the test result is positive. In September 2005, the AMI, along with several other organizations and with assistance and encouragement from FSIS, mailed to every small and very small federally inspected establishment a best practices document encouraging them to adopt a policy to control tested product until the results are known.