The Meat Inspection Division of the USDA was created in 1906.
Inspectors are civil service veterinarians or non-professional lay inspectors. All are government employees, meaning the program is financed by the public.
The federal government requires supervision of establishments which slaughter, pack, render, and prepare meats and meat products for interstate shipment and foreign export. Individual states have responsibility for intrastate shipments, however state standards cannot be lower than federal levels.
The purpose of inspection is: a. Safeguard the public by eliminating disease or otherwise unwholesome meat from the food supply. b. To enforce the sanitary preparation of meat and meat products.
The purpose of inspection is: c. To guard against the use of harmful ingredients or residue in meats from drugs, growth promotants, pesticides, etc. d. To prevent the use of false or misleading names or statement labels.
The Wholesome Meat Act of 1967 updated and strengthened the Meat Inspection Act of 1906.
A. States were given the option of conducting their own inspection service or turning the responsibility over to the federal government. B. Most states simply apply the federal regulations to their own programs.
Antermortem: inspection is made in pens or as animals are moved from the scales after weighing; obviously diseased or otherwise unhealthy animals not fit for human consumption may be marked Suspect or Condemned.
Postmortem: inspection is made at the time of slaughter and includes careful examination of the carcass and viscera (internal organs); all good carcasses are stamped U.S. Inspected and Passed. Those failing inspection are stamped U.S. Inspected and Condemned.
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