Written by Andrew Martin
Monday, 27 March 2006
A short notice from the United States Department of Agriculture has created
a stir-and perhaps a wave of nausea-among the nation’s meat inspectors.
Called “FSIS NOTICE 15-06: Use of Non-Amenable Animal Tissue in Inspected
Products,” the notice essentially says that animals that you wouldn’t
normally associate with hamburgers can be “included in amenable meat or
poultry products produced in official establishments.”
In other words, anything from deer to dog meat can be ground into hamburger,
as long as it meets state regulations, which inspectors say tend to be
looser than the federal government’s.
“Suffice it to say, this is bizarre to inspectors in the field,” said Trent
Berhow, president of the Midwest Council of Food Inspectors locals, who
lives in Iowa. “To read this, it looks to us that any product that is
slaughtered under state inspection requirements can be co-mingled with
federally inspected products.
“Could you bring roadkill in?” he asked. “I don’t know how to read this. I
don’t think you would get (the USDA) to say we are talking about roadkill
Steven Cohen, a spokesman for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service,
said the notice was simply clarifying previous policies that had conflicted
with each other. The bottom line, Cohen said, is that any kind of animal
meat can be used with USDA inspected meat as long as its not adulterated.
For instance, he said, he said buffalo meat could be blended with ground
beef, though he noted that the types of meat would have be listed as part of
the ingredients on the label. Could dog meat be blended with ground beef?
“I don’t believe that it is illegal, but there is no place that is producing
dog meat,” Cohen said, adding that the regulation fits a “very limited
circumstance. “I don’t think there’s anyone who is doing this on a
But roadkill wouldn’t qualify because, since the animal wasn’t slaughtered,
it would be considered adulterated, he said.
Non-amenable animal tissue, as defined in the notice, is any tissue from
animals not subject to inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act and
the Poultry Products Inspection Act. It includes edible tissue from exotic
animals, rabbits, migratory birds and other animals not under the scope of
USDA inspection, like alligator and kangaroo.
News of the notice swept through the community of meat inspectors after one
of them sent an email to USDA’s technical support center asking for
clarification. In response to a question, Kris Kenne, a USDA staff officer,
said someone could mix deer meat with pork and sell deer dogs with a USDA
logo as long as the ingredients were labeled and state law allowed it.
Does this also mean that a slaughtered cat or dog can be added to sausage,
Kenne was asked?
“Yes, that is a possibility should one wish to pursue to use them as an
ingredient in the product. Public perception may not be so acceptable of the
practice though,” Kenne responded.
Kenne was not at his office on Friday and could not be reached for comment.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service, as of March 3rd, 2006, is not
inspecting non-amenable animal tissue. This means tissue from certain
animals are not subject to inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act
and the Poultry Products Inspection Act.
To make this as clear as possible, the edible part of certain animals will
not be inspected. Animals such as:
1) Exotic animals (reindeer, elk, deer, antelope, water buffalo, or bison)
or hybrid animals showing predominated characteristics of non-amenable
animal (e.g., catalo). Catalo is tender meat produced by cross breeding
domestic cattle with American buffalo.
3) Migratory water fowl or game birds.
4) Other animals not under the scope of FSIS’ voluntary inspection, e. g.,
alligator and kangaroo.
Non-amenable meats were inspected before this and then were mixed with
inspected regular poultry or meat. Now non-amenable foods, animal tissue,
which are no longer inspected, are mixed with inspected poultry, meat and
chicken. This is playing Russian roulette with your health.
It’s as simple as this. Any establishment many be selling or serving you
this food which was not inspected and mixed with regular meat or poultry.
The FMIA and the PPIA, which are ‘protectors’ of our meat and poultry, are
putting us in greater danger than merely exposure to bacterial and virus
With the Bird Flu expected to hit our area in July we might just have been
placed in a more dangerous position. Eating foods which might be carrying
the virus for Bird Flu would be very dangerous.
Scientists are still unsure how many different ways Bird Flu can be
transferred to humans. We don’t need another avenue left wide open to be
attacked by any carrier of the deadly bird flu virus. Please contact your
Congressman to change FSIS notice 15-06 as quickly as possible.
Everyone should be concerned for their family and themselves. We should be
warned of any major change in the handling of our meat and poultry supply.
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
Sign our petition here: