Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., once again introduced legislation in late July that would give the USDA authority to enact mandatory meat product recalls, according to a press release. The Senator originally introduced the bill to the Senate in 2003.

Presently, the USDA is prevented by law to issue a mandatory recall. Instead, the process follows the pattern of the agency asking an affected company to recall the product.

According to Udall, the present USDA method of negotiating with meatpacking companies before a recall (and give these companies an “effective veto on recalls”) is less effective and time-consuming.


A counterpoint from the former USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety, Richard Raymond, suggests this may not be the case.

According to Raymond, the USDA doesn’t negotiate when a meat or poultry recall is prudent to the protection of public health. Likewise, he adds that no meat company has ever refused a USDA request for a recall.