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A Tradition of Quality
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A Tradition of Quality
The United States is a major meat consuming country. While Iowa doesn’t ignore the important domestic market, it takes extra measures to attract beef and pork buyers from outside the United States. In fact, few states have demonstrated the same dedication to international customers.
That commitment begins with food safety, a top priority of Iowa’s meat industry. Starting on the farm, stringent practices help minimize risk among the animals.
A detailed inspection system – recognized as one of the most stringent in the world – is employed to continue safety at the packing stage. Additional U.S. government oversight during processing and shipment further assures wholesome products.
U.S. government inspection for all meat exports has been mandatory since 1891. The strict USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Meat Inspection Program assures that only healthy meat products reach consumers around the world. This same inspection program also guarantees that facilities and equipment meet all sanitation standards at various stages of production.
One of the keys to keeping beef and pork supplies wholesome is “HACCP,” or Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points. First developed in the 1970s to assure safe food for astronauts in the U.S. space program, the meat industry has extensively trained its workers in HACCP since 1990. HACCP maintains and improves on the U.S. meat industry’s excellent food safety record.
In short, HACCP assures that dangers from unseen bacteria are controlled. Rules from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) require harvest facilities to do regular microbial testing of raw meat to verify that controls at points where pathogens might enter the system are working. All plants must follow operating procedures that ensure cleanliness of facilities and equipment, as well as good employee hygienic practices. And all facilities must develop and implement HACCP systems for each type of product they sell.The presence of FSIS inspectors in all plants producing pork or beef for export helps assure that meat is properly processed, handled, stored, transported and labeled.
Extra Support
Iowa cattle and swine producers also work closely with the Iowa State University Department of Animal Science to further secure the quality and safety of both livestock and meat products. The university’s authorities are able to provide information on animal science, breeding and genetics, physiology, meat science and nutrition, and further support producers as they adopt new technologies and management practices.