The Safe Meat and Poultry Act, intended to reduce the number of foodbourne outbreaks, was introduced in the U.S. Senate on September 13 by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. Gillibrand says the legislation would strengthen the U.S. agriculture and food industry by updating the nation's meat and poultry inspection and consumer notification system.

According to Gillibrand, the chairwoman of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Marketing and Agriculture Security, the Safe Meat and Poultry Act would:

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  • Create mandatory pathogen reduction performance standards and expand the USDA's authority to create new pathogens
  • Improve consumer notification for recalls of contaminated products
  • Provide whistleblower protection for government and private workers in the food industry to report public health issues
  • Safeguard the U.S. from unsafe foreign meat and poultry products by ensuring regular international audits by the Food Safety and Inspection Service

Gillibrand stated that a recent Government Accountability Office report found the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service was moving forward with an expanded poultry pilot without proper data collection and evaluation, which shows the need for the Safe Meat and Poultry Act.

"As I cook dinner for my family most nights, I want to know what I am serving is safe for my children to eat," said Gillibrand. "This legislation contains practical measures to ensure no American gambles with their health when purchasing poultry or meat products."