Small and independent meat processors are at significant economic risk due to increased regulatory costs included in a preliminary draft guidance document issued by the Food Safety and Inspection Service, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. The document spells out new and costly requirements for local meat processors under the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Systems Validation proposal.
In a letter to FSIS, Farm Bureau stated that many of its members who raise livestock “rely on small and independent meat processors” to process meat they raise for their own consumption. In addition, local meat processors offer farmers and ranchers “opportunities to create specialty and value-added products marketed through niche outlets.”
“(Local meat processing) facilities are most at risk from increased costs due to (new validation costs for) multiple species and multiple products, with a relatively low volume over which to spread those costs,” AFBF’s letter stated. “The loss of small and very small establishments would be devastating to our livestock-producing members.”
Hundreds of small, independent meat processors have expressed concern to AFBF over the last three months regarding the damaging economic consequences of the proposed rule. Increased compliance costs ranged from $65,000 to approximately $640,000 per year for those local plants.