Inspection History

Early in history, people recognized the importance of obtaining meat from a wholesome source and the significance of proper processing techniques.1-1-1 For example, early Mediterranean civilizations regulated and supervised slaughter and handling of meat animals.[2] It should therefore come as no surprise that the inspection process is currently regarded as an essential component in a long chain of concurrent events necessary to ensure the wholesomeness and safety of meat and meat products. United States legislation was passed in 1894 implementing a general meat inspection act for pork, yet it was not until June 1906 that the Federal Meat Inspection Act (required for all interstate and foreign commerce) was passed by the U.S. Congress. Sixty-one years and several amendments later (1967), the U.S. Congress established the Wholesome Meat Act (extending meat inspection to intrastate commerce) inevitably requiring that all meat and meat products destined for human consumption be inspected for safety and wholesomeness. More recently (1996), the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) (the principle governmental agency designed to implement meat inspection laws) mandated that all meat-processing plants employ Pathogen Reduction and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Systems in an attempt to diminish the incidence of physical, chemical, and biological contamination in/on meat and meat products. This mandate further fortified the safety and wholesomeness of the U.S. meat supply for both domestic and international (export) consumption.

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