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that adequate funds are provided for efficient administration and that nothing is done to weaken or curtail this vital inspection activity of the Department.
Obviously, the Department is the best authority on what is needed to provide this essential consumer public health service. The amount requested represents a small increase of approximately $400,000 over the amount made available last year. Three hundred thousand dollars of the requested increase is for additional inspectors to meet the increased workload occasioned by increased volume of product to be inspected. The remaining $100,000 is to carry out vitally needed work in residue surveys. These increases are small in view of the anticipated increases in inspection volume of about 4 percent.
The Poultry Division was recently awarded a Presidential citation for efficiency which reflects an annual savings of approximately $1% million a year in program operations. The record of the Poultry Division in holding costs down is demonstrated by the increase in the amount of poultry inspected per man-year. In 1959, 3.7 million pounds of poultry were inspected per man-year. This was increased to about 6 million pounds in 1964.
We recommend that the full amount requested by the Department be appropriated to permit the efficient performance of this important activity. We thank the committee for this opportunity to present our views.
AMALGAMATED MEAT CUTTERS AND BUTCHER WORKMEN STATEMENT OF ARNOLD MAYER, LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATIVE
PREPARED STATEMENT Senator HOLLAND. The next witness is Mr. Arnold Mayer, legislative representative of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen, who wishes to be heard on the question of adequate meat and poultry inspection.
Are you here, Mr. Mayer?
Mr. Chairman, I would like to put my statement in the record and briefly summarize it, in order to conserve the committee's time.
Senator HOLLAND. Without objection, your statement will be placed in the record in full.
Mr. MAYER. Thank you, sir.
My name is Arnold Mayer. I am the legislative representative of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America (AFL-CIO).
The AMCBW is a labor union with 375,000 members organized in about 500 local unions throughout the United States and Canada. The AMCBW and its local unions have contracts with thousands of employers in the meat, retail, poultry, egg, canning, leather, fish processing, and fur industries.
We greatly appreciate the opportunity of presenting our views concerning the appropriations for the Meat and Poultry Inspection Divisions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As you know, our union has long considered these two agencies to be among the most important consumer-protective parts of the Federal Government.
1. CHANGES IN INSPECTION Changes are currently occurring in the meat and poultry inspection programs. Earlier this year, the two programs were combined into the new Consumer and Marketing Service. We have, since we first initiated the legislative effort for the enactment of the mandatory poultry inspection law, supported plans to bring the two inspection programs closer together. However, we did not believe that it was a good idea to combine them with the marketing functions. We believed that the marketing and consumer protective work should be kept separate because they could conflict. We feared that the inspection functions might suffer in such a combination.
We therefore urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to bring together poultry and meat inspection in a separate consumer agency. The inspection programs could serve as a nucleus for the joining in one agency of the many other consumer protective functions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Unfortunately, the Department decided otherwise. We fervently hope the new agency will emphasize its vital consumer protective work.
In addition, a meat scandal has been discovered in New York. Horsemeat and unfit meat has been sold as good red meat for human consumption. A New York grand jury has returned indictments and the Department of Agriculture has established a committee, composed of able and experienced men, to investigate this serious violation, its origins, its consequences, and the prevention of similar occurrences in the future.
2. INCREASED INSPECTION COVERAGE Probably some changes in administrative procedures and some legislative changes will be needed. Congress will have to deal with some areas where the Meat and Poultry Inspection Divisions presently have no authority. Chiefly, we hope Congress will consider the problems caused by meat and poultry which is in interstate commerce, but which is not covered by the inspection laws.
Since the coverage of the Meat Inspection Act uses the definition of interstate commerce common in 1906, when the law was passed, some 18 percent of red meat slaughtered in the United States is outside of the Federal inspection. This oceurs despite the fact that many of the plants slaughtering and processing this meat are considered in interstate commerce in the enforcement of other laws. The Poultry Inspection Act has similar problems even though it is a newer law.
To meet this problem, both President Kennedy and President Johnson called for an extension of coverage of meat and poultry inspection in the consumer messages which each sent to Congress. We fully agree that such new legislation is greatly needed.
3. OPPOSITION TO INDUSTRY PAYMENTS On the other hand, we disagree with a legislative proposal concerning meat and poultry inspection which the administration has made in the budget message.
This is the request that payment for these two programs be made by the packers and processors instead of the Federal Government.
We will strongly oppose such legislation if it should come before Congress. We believe it will bring about no beneficial results and could cause some very unfortunate ones.
If packers and processors paid the cost of inspection, some budget figures might be slightly lowered, but the American people would still be paying the cost. For the meatpacking and poultry processing industry would certainly pass the cost on to the consumer. And the cost might be higher after it goes through the various stages of being passed on.
Our greatest fear, however, is that inspection could be seriously weakened if the payment for it came initally from the industries involved. Management would then look upon inspection as a service to the industry and it would make certain demands. These demands could seriously conflict with the protection which the consumer expects and deserves.
When we urged the enactment of mandatory poultry inspection, we did so partially because of the problems we had found in the voluntary inspection program. This was a program which was paid for by processors. From this and other experience, we have long concluded that whoever pays for inspection controls or greatly influences it.
We believe that control should be vested where it is now—in the Federal Government. We believe that meat and poultry inspection is and should be a consumer protective function and not a marketing service. As such, it should be paid for from the Federal Treasury.
4. MEAT INSPECTION APPROPRIATIONS Now, I should like to discuss the specific budget estimates for meat and poultry inspection for fiscal year 1966.
The Meat Inspection Division would get $35,707,000, according to the budget estimate. This amount is an increase of $2,440,000 over the amount appropriated for fiscal year 1965.
Of this amount $386,000 would be necessary to maintain the approximately 50 man-years of service which this subcommittee and Congress have approved in a previous supplemental appropriations. An additional $250,000 are needed for within-grade promotions required by law. The remaining $1,804,000 would permit the hiring of 251 man-years of service.
This additional personnel is desperately peeded. The industry is still expanding and is still decentralizing. Thus, the budget estimate provided that inspection would be needed in some 1,760 plants in 723 cities and towns on June 30, 1965. However, by the end of March, inspection already had to be available in 1,755 plants. If the current average of monthly plant increases continues, some 20 plants more than the estimate will need service by June 30, 1965.
5. POULTRY INSPECTION APPROPRIATIONS The budget estimate calls for an appropriation of $17,567,000 for fiscal year 1966. This is an increase of $400,000 or 2.3 percent over fiscal year 1965.
This additional money would permit a rise in manpower of 41 man-years for a total of 1,933 man-years. This is an increase of 2.1 percent.
Yet the estimated number of pounds of poultry to be inspected will increase 487 million to a total of 11,690 million. This is a rise of 4.3 percent. The number of lines to be inspected will rise by 55 to a total of 1,445. This is an increase of 3.9 percent.
In other words, the amount of work to be done will increase far more than the amount of additional money this subcommittee is being asked to appropriate and the number of additional man-years it is being requested to allow.
6. INSPECTION MANPOWER IMPROVEMENTS In the past, we have presented to you cases where layoffs of workers occurrred or were threatened because of a lack of inspectors. In these unfortunate situations, workers lost wages, management lost profits, and farmers lost sales because a plant could not maintain an increased operation. We are happy to say that we have not had any complaints from our local unions about an such situations in the last year. That does not mean that inspection shortages did not occur, but they apparently did not lead to layoffs.
We are grateful to this subcommittee for the increases it has approved in the past for the two inspection programs, so that the serious problems which occurred in fiscal year 1964 were not repeated. We respectfully urge that you prevent any recurrence by approving the small increases requested in the budget estimates for meat and poultry inspection.
These funds are necessary. They are important for the protection of the consumer and the maintenance of health in this Nation. In addition, they are vital for the economic welfare of the farmer and labor and management in the meat and poultry industry. We, therefore, urge that you appropriate $35,707,000 for meat inspection and $17,567,000 for poultry inspection.
CONSUMER AND MARKETING SERVICE BUDGET REQUEST Senator HOLLAND. Now, the table that we have in the budget indicates that these two projects are now consolidated under the CMS rather than the ARS, for a total, as stated in the budget, of $53,261,800, and that is an increase of $2,840,000 over 1965.
Do you wish to be heard on this matter? Do you oppose the increase?
Mr. MAYER. No, sir; we fully support the budget statements provided by the administration. We support the particular figures which you read which would provide $35,707,000 for the Meat Inspection Division, and $17,567,000 for the Poultry Inspection Division. We believe both the amounts, including the increases, are very much needed, and we sincerely hope that the subcommittee which in the past has been so very considerate of these inspection programs will be so again this year, and will approve the full amount.
Mr. Chairman, the inspection programs are undergoing change right now. As you have just stated, they have been combined in a new consumer and marketing service. Frankly, we had opposed the combining of the programs in that service. We had hoped, and suggested, that a separate consumer agency be started by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and that meat and poultry inspection go into that agency. We had urged that marketing and consumer protective functions not be put together, because they might conflict. The Department did not agree with us. The programs were put into this new agency, and we sincerely hope that the Department will emphasize the consumer protective functions that now exist in that agency.
NEW YORK MEAT SCANDALS Another problem which is currently occurring is that some meat scandals have been found in New York.
Senator HOLLAND. Some what?
Unfit meat, and horsemeat was being sold as good red meat. The Department is currently investigating this. A grand jury has acted and has offered some indictments.
The Department has set up a committee to study the whole meat and poultry inspection area: Why these situations occurred, what the consequences of this situation are, and so on.
on. This committee is made up of very able and experienced men.
Now, one of the areas that will probably have to be looked into is the area where meat and poultry inspection do not have any authority, and there are such areas, such as locker plants, and also the whole area where there is no inspection whatsoever. Something like 18 percent of the red meat slaughtered in the United States is not inspected by the Federal Government.
MEAT INSPECTION ACT
Senator HOLLAND. You mean the intrastate plants?
Mr. MAYER. Well, sir, they are not really intrastate. You see, the Meat Inspection Act is a 1906 act. It interprets interstate commerce according to the 1906 formula. As a result, there are many plants which are considered intrastate according to the Meat Inspection Act, but are considered interstate according to all other acts that are being endorsed in the area; so you have a difference of interpretation between-of what is interstate commerce between the Federal Meat Inspection Act and other acts that have since been passed by the Federal Government.
Senator HOLLAND. Is the source of this illegal meat, uninspected meat, that you say has appeared on the New York market any of these so-called intrastate plants?
Mr. MAYER. No. The one plant so far where this has been found was an inspected plant and, frankly, how this happened is still matter questioned. The grand jury did not, as far as I know, enlighten the public on what happened.
Senator HOLLAND. Is this improper, uninspected meat all traceable to the one plant that you mentioned?
Mr. MAYER. I don't know. The stuff that has been found so far, yes; but there probably is more.
Senator HOLLAND. But this is the only one against which indictment has been returned?
Mr. MAYER. Where action has been taken so far; yes.
Senator HOLLAND. Of course, this is a very important matter, and if you have any details on it, I ask that you supply them for the record. The purpose of the inspection service, obviously, is to protect the consuming public, and if there is some condition that is allowing uninspected meat, and perhaps meat that is out of condition, to come into the market, even though it comes from a Federal-inspected plant, I think we ought to know the facts about such an operation. Do you have any such facts?
Mr. MAYER. I don't, sir. What has happened is that the Department has established a committee to consider this whole situation, look into it, and that committee will undoubtedly report.
Senator HOLLAND. Well, we shall certainly go into that matter thoroughly with the Department witnesses.
In the meantime, I appreciate your having mentioned this, and may I say this: That, so long as the hearings are underway, if there comes to your attention any further facts in connection with this, involving other plants or involving personnel of the inspection service, or anything else about this whole matter which you think this committee would properly have jurisdiction of, I suggest that you report it to the committee, even up to the date of the going to print of the final record of the hearing.
Mr. MAYER. We will, sir.
Sir, I don't want to leave an impression that the inspection services are not doing their job. We believe they are. We believe they are doing a very good job. This is a situation which has developed. What the problem is is not really known yet.
Also, there are areas like locker plants that are outside of the inspection services' authority, so I want to make the record perfectly clear that we believe both meat inspection and poultry inspection have done very good jobs.
ORGANIZATIONS OUTSIDE INSPECTION SERVICE
Senator HOLLAND. These organizations that are outside of the inspection service: Do you have any facts as to the volume which they handle, and do you have any facts that would indicate that their products have gone into interstate commerce, as contrasted with intrastate commerce?
Mr. MAYER. The consumer messages which both President Kennedy and President Johnson sent to the Congress and which urged an increase in the inspection coverage estimated the amount of meat which is not inspected currently to be about 18 percent of that slaughtered in the United States; that is, not inspected by the Federal Government. Some of it is inspected by State governments. Some of these inspection programs are fairly good. Some of them are not. They are widely varying programs. Most States do not have any inspection programs at all.
Senator HOLLAND. Do you have any facts indicating that the product of these intrastate plants, so-called, has gone into interstate commerce?
Mr. MAYER. No, sir; I do not have that fact.
Now, if that means interstate commerce in terms of the 1906 act, no, sir; we have no such evidence. In terms of interstate commerce as now interpreted by other legislation, yes; but that is legal. Because