WASHGINTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) last week that it will begin listing stores that have received meat and poultry products involved in recalls, starting the next month.
The new rule will become effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, which is scheduled to take place next week.
The American Meat Institute (AMI) said Friday that it opposed the move. The industry group said that listing retail outlets could confuse consumers.
“A meat company may have sold a product to ten distributors, and each of those distributors may have sold some of the product to ten brokers and each of those brokers may have sold products to 20 retail stores,” said Mark Dopp, AMI senior vice president of regulatory affairs and general counsel. “This complex shipping information is compiled and updated over time. It is not typically available in a complete form when a recall is announced,”
The AMI reiterated its support in providing information that helps consumers determine whether they have a recalled product. “The most accurate way to make this determination is to rely upon product identifiers like code dates, plant numbers and brands announced by recalling companies,” said Dopp.
The USDA said its Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) will post on its Web site a list of retail stores that receive products subject to Class I recalls, the highest risk category, generally within three to ten business days of issuing the recall release.
“The identity of retail stores with recalled meat and poultry from their suppliers has always been a missing piece of information for the public during a recall," said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer. “People want to know if they need to be on the lookout for recalled meat and poultry from their local store and by providing lists of retail outlets during recalls, USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service will improve public health protection by better informing consumers."