Do Pork and Beef Importers Produce A Safe Product for U.S. Consumers?

Posted by Admin on January 20, 2015 under Health | Comments are off for this article

Were you aware that nearly one fifth of all meat consumed inside the United States comes from a foreign source? Typically beef importers bring in over 2 billion pounds of meat each year. That is in addition to nearly a billion pounds of imported pork.

Where does this meat come from? Most of it comes from Canada or Mexico. Why these two countries? Because they are closest to the United States. Importing meat from great distances is very expensive due to the cost of transportation.

Over the past several years beef importers have seen business increase steadily. This is in large part because of changes in American companies. There have been massive consolidations, thus reducing the number of meat packing plants in the U.S. The remaining plants are much larger and more centralized.

Is imported meat safe? Actually, beef produced in Canada is a high quality grain-fed product, much the same as U.S. beef.

Most of the meat from a beef importer¬†from both Canada and Mexico is “on the hoof” — it is imported as live cattle which is then used for dairy, for breeding purposes, or fattened up and slaughtered. The same is true for pork.

It is good to note that all imported meat is inspected by the Food Safety & Inspection Service of the United States Dept of Agriculture. Therefore consumers can rest assured it is safe and wholesome.

The FSIS inspects all meat, both locally grown and imported, and ensures it is packaged correctly and appropriately labeled.

Some states perform their own inspections. However, this is allowed only when the animals are raised, slaughtered and consumed within the state.

In addition, federal law requires all states follow certain guidelines, ensuring the quality of the inspections. If the state fails to maintain a high quality, the FSIS has the authority to take over.

The FSIS continues to monitor all meat products after they have left the meat processing centers, until they reach the final retailer or restaurant.

This federal inspection program has been in existence since the early part of the last century. Of course there have been significant changes in the meat packing industry since that time.

In the early days most meat was grown, slaughtered and consumed locally. Also, with the exception of bacon and sausage, there was little meat processing done.

That has all changed. Today there are hundreds of varieties of meat products that are packaged and sold. Meat is now processed in fewer locations, but in much larger quantities, and then shipped to restaurants and grocery chains throughout the country.

This has made it necessary for the FSIS to make changes to keep up. Today inspectors use sophisticated means to detect not just animal diseases, but also microbiological and chemical contamination.

Perhaps you have read reports warning that meat consumed in the United States is not safe. Hopefully the points in this article will put your mind to rest and help you appreciate that the beef, pork and poultry you purchase in your grocery store is safe and wholesome.

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