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WASHINGTON - Explaining that it could not "rely on the media alone" to inform the public about food safety and other meat issues, The American Meat Institute (AMI) said yesterday it was launching new consumer outreach initiative, "Meat Matters," consisting of a series of brochures that can be downloaded and printed from a new centralized Web site, MeatMattersInfo.org.
AMI said the seven brochures in the series cover:
--Safe Handling of Meat and Poultry Products: Details recommended handling and cooking practices to ensure meat and poultry safety.
--Case Ready Meats: Details the growing trend in packaging meat at the plant under federal inspection for direct placement into the retail case without further cutting or handling.
--Product Dating: Explains the different types of dates that appear on packages, including use-by dates, sell-by dates, and "best if used by" dates. Also features a chart detailing storage times for fresh and processed products.
--Meat and Poultry Nutrition: Features a quick consumer reference guide to the amount of protein needed.
--Livestock Cloning: Details the level of scientific review the technology has undergone.
--Animal Welfare in the Meat Industry: Explains the regulatory requirements for ensuring the humane treatment of livestock handled by meat plants. Also details voluntary efforts by the meat industry in this regard.
--Consumer's Guide to Enhanced Meats: Details how the meat industry is employing enhancing solutions in lean meat cuts to maintain juiciness, prevent overcooking, and ensure good eating experiences.
AMI it had sought comments from government, industry, and academia in developing the brochures. The institute said it will add to the series over the next year.
"The fact is -- meat does matter," said AMI president J. Patrick Boyle in a statement. "We cannot rely on the media alone to communicate important messages about food safety, nutrition, animal welfare, and meat quality. We believe that these brochures and their companion download site can be a valuable resource to our customers."
Electronic files of the brochures are available to retailers and foodservice operators that wish to customize the materials by adding their logos.
Visitors to the site can subscribe to receive alerts when new brochures are issued or to be notified when existing brochures are updated.