American Meat Institute
The American Meat Institute (AMI) was the oldest and largest trade association representing the U.S. meat and poultry industry. As of 2015, it is merged into the North American Meat Institute (NAMI).
Originally founded in 1906 in Chicago as the American Meat Packers Association, the American Meat Institute is a trade association that provides leadership to advance the interests of America’s meat and poultry packing and processing companies, and the 526,000 workers they employ, before government, media, and the public.
The organization was created shortly after the passage of the Federal Meat Inspection Act and spent much its early years helping meat packers adjust to new inspection requirements. AMI moved its headquarters in 1979 to Washington, DC, where it remains today.
AMI’s membership ranges from large, publicly traded companies that employ thousands to small businesses. More than half of AMI’s members are small, family-owned businesses employing fewer than 100 individuals and one-third employ less than 50. Collectively, AMI’s 200 member companies produce 90 percent of the beef, pork, veal and lamb food products and 75 percent of the turkey food products in the U.S.
In addition to advocating before government, media and the public, AMI also provides programs, services, expositions and educational seminars to benefit its members. Through theAmerican Meat Institute Foundation, which was originally created in 1944, AMI conducts scientific research designed to help meat and poultry companies improve their plants and their products.
AMI is governed by elected leaders and staffed by 32 professionals. AMI elected leaders include five officers plus the President and CEO, as well as a 70-person Board of Directors and a 23-person Executive Committee. Representatives on both of these bodies include leaders in both the supplier and packer/processor segments of the industry. AMI has also created operating groups, called policy committees and advisory committees, within its membership to allow member companies to recommend AMI policies in their primary areas of interest.
The current officers are as follows:
- AMI president and CEO: James H. Hodges
- Chairman: Dennis Vignieri, Kenosha Beef International, Ltd;
- Vice Chairman: Larry Odom, Odom's Tennessee Pride Sausage, Inc;
- Treasurer: Nick Meriggioli, Kraft Foods, Inc./ Oscar Mayer;
- Secretary: Greg Benedict, American Foods Group, LLC;
- Immediate Past Chairman: Jeffrey Ettinger, Hormel Foods.
AMI and the AMI Foundation sponsor annual education conferences, topical workshops, award programs, committee meetings and an annual trade show.
The annual trade show, the 2012 AMI Expo, will take place May 1–3, 2012 in Dallas, Texas. The 2012 AMI Expo is co-located with the Food Marketing Institute 2012 Show, United Fresh Produce Association's United Fresh and the U.S. Food Showcase, bringing together almost 1,200 exhibitors and 25,000 attendees in Dallas. Processors from all over the world will convene to see and discuss the latest technology innovations in packaging, processing equipment, ingredients and services that are changing the meat and poultry industry.
Several of the AMI Foundation's education conferences have included: the Animal Care and Handling Conference, October 19–20, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri; the Meat and Poultry Research Conference, November 1–2, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri; the Annual Meat Conference, February 19–21, 2012 in Orlando, Florida; and the Worker Safety, Human Resources & the Environment Conference, March 14–15, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri.
There are annual education conferences, topical workshops, award programs, committee meetings and annual trade shows. Every event is a conglomeration of thought aimed at creating opportunities for various industry processors, suppliers and press to learn, network and find solutions to various problem. Some future events are: the International Production in Atlanta, GA | January 27-29, 2015, the Environmental Conferences Atlanta, GA | January 26-27, 2015, the Annual Meat Conference in Nashville, TN | February 22-24, 2015, the Worker Safety and Human Resources Conference in Kansas City, KS | April 22-23, 2015 and lastly the Animal Care and Handling Conference in Kansas City, MO | October 15-16, 2015.
AMI Foundation Funded Research
The Foundation provides research funding to universities, private institutions, non-profit organizations and other foundations to conduct research on behalf of the meat and poultry industry. AMIF publicly disseminates research findings, best practices and other educational materials on a broad range of food safety, worker safety, nutrition and consumer information projects.
Since 1999, the AMI Foundation research program has directly sponsored more than 85 food safety research projects at leading universities and research labs totaling nearly $7.5 million.
A list of AMI Foundation completed research projects on the subjects of:
- Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli
- Listeria monocytogenes
- Diet and Health
- Sodium Nitrite
- Other Food Safety
While overseeing that all meat is prepared to the standards of the Humane Slaughter Act, meat that is prepared by relgiious means such as Halal in the Muslim faith is also overseen with guidelines such as using electro narcosis to stun the animal, which has been appropriated by the Egyptian Fatwa Committee.
AMI operates several websites with information for industry members, consumers and the media:
- American Meat Institute (official site)
- American Meat Institute Foundation (official site)
- National Hot Dog & Sausage Council (official site)
- AMI Expo (official site)
- Foundation, AMI. "AMI Foundation Official Site". American Meat Institute Foundation.
- EXPO, AMI. "AMI Expo 2012". 2012 AMI Expo official site.
- Education, AMI. "2012 AMI Education Calendar". 2012 Official AMI Education Calendar.
- Egyptian fatwa Committee, December 18th 1978, "The Opinions of the Ulema on the Permissibility of Stunning Animals", Organic Halal Meat.', 1978
- CRS Report for Congress, February 26, 2008 "USDA Meat Inspection and the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act", 'Opencrs.', 2008