AMI Acts As a Catalyst on Issues
By Tim Day, Chairman, Bar-S Foods
Q:The meat industry as a whole owes plenty to AMI, but are there any ways in which Bar-S Foods’ history coincides with or lends itself to the success that AMI has had over the decades?
A: AMI has always been a catalyst for important industry initiatives such as food safety. When the AMI Foundation launched their Food Safety Initiative back in 1999 to reduce Listeria and E. coli from meat products, most of us in the industry also stepped up our food-safety measures. Food safety continues to be a high priority at Bar-S, and we may now, in fact, be an industry leader.
Q: From Bar-S Foods’ perspective, what is the primary benefit that comes from being a member of AMI, and why is AMI so strong in that area?
A: AMI keeps its fingers on the pulse of important legislative and regulatory issues that impact the meat industry, and it does a great job of keeping its member companies informed on current issues. AMI has developed sound relationships with key congressional representatives in Washington and can effectively present the industry’s position on important issues. Through AMI, the industry can speak with a single unified voice.
Q: In what ways do AMI’s “branches,” such as the AMI Foundation or the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, for example, further help companies such as Bar-S?
A: AMI has several branches that help its member companies. The AMI Public Affairs branch keeps us informed on important news, current events and developments that could impact our business. The scientific research conducted through the Foundation helps meat companies such as Bar-S improve their plants and their products. The Crisis Management branch provides resources that we use to develop and maintain our own internal Crisis Management Plan. The semi-annual AMI Worldwide Food Expo provides an opportunity for manufacturers like Bar-S to see the latest products and technologies for processing and packaging — a great learning experience all under one roof. And, the Annual Meat Conference allows us the opportunity to sample our products and interact with our customers.
Q: Is there a specific example of how Bar-S takes the information and other benefits of AMI membership and translates those things to everyday operations?
A: As mentioned in question No. 1, AMI’s Food Safety Initiative had a direct impact on the food-safety practices established at all Bar-S facilities. AMI’s Crisis Management branch provided materials so we could devise an effective plan for Bar-S. More recently we developed a gameplan should we be faced with a potential Avian Influenza breakout with resources made available by AMI. AMI is dedicated to responding to the needs of its member companies by providing information that will keep us operating effectively.
Q: What are some of the key ways in which Bar-S is involved in AMI, and has been involved in recent years? Do you see Bar-S expanding its involvement or keeping it steady down the road?
A: Personally, I have been an AMI Board Member for 32 years (we are going for the longevity record) and currently sit on the AMI Executive Committee. Plus, Bar-S is a big supporter of the AMI Pac and every year hosts a big campaign to boost employee participation. Bar-S is currently working with AMI to improve its current “legislative alert program.” We hope to tailor the AMI current e-mail alert program so that many of our employees will receive an e-mail from the company which will enable them to automatically send a letter to their respective congressmen to vote for or against some pending legislation. It’s a big project, but could be very beneficial in making our voice heard on Capitol Hill.