The Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education (Foundation) is a non-profit research, education and information foundation established to identify strategies that enable the meat and poultry industry to produce better, safer products and to operate more efficiently. The Foundation engages leaders from industry, academia and government to advance scientific understanding related to food safety, nutrition, the environment, animal welfare and worker safety, among other issues. The Foundation does not engage in policymaking, but provides scientific evidence and context to governmental agencies as needed. The Foundation also provides resources to consumers to empower them with information to select and prepare safe and nutritious meat and poultry products for their families.
Formed by the merger of the American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF) and the North American Meat Association’s Meat Research and Outreach Foundation in 2015, the Foundation seeks to build on the rich legacy of its predecessor organizations. The unified Foundation focuses on helping the industry meet future challenges.
AMIF’s rich history dates back nearly 70 years. In 1944, the Institute established the first AMI Foundation, complete with a commercial laboratory, on the University of Chicago campus in Chicago, Illinois. From 1944 until the late 1970s, the Foundation invested millions in research projects examining meat processing, safety and nutrition for the industry. When the American Meat Institute moved to Washington, DC, in the 1970s, the Foundation was phased out. By 1992, the need for a solutions-focused research foundation became clear and the Institute relaunched AMIF.
In 1999, AMIF launched a multi-million dollar, multi-year Food Safety Initiative focused on reducing Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli O157:H7 in meat and poultry products. In 2004, the research priorities were expanded to include Salmonella. The scope of the E. coli research priorities was broadened in 2006 to include additional Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.
Since 1999, more than $8 million in research grants have been awarded for projects that show promise in advancing food safety.
Over the course of 2015, the Foundation was restructured and redefined to broaden its scope of influence and direction. The changes include expanding priorities and activities to account for existing and emerging issues as well as outside funding sources, and inviting meat and poultry industry stakeholders to serve on the Board of Directors.
Today, the Foundation provides research grants to universities, private institutions, non-profit organizations and other foundations. Research findings, knowledge and best practices are disseminated through briefings, workshops and other industry communication efforts.
Research Priorities and Projects
The Foundation focuses its priorities on areas the meat and poultry industry deems most critical. These include microbiological food safety, animal welfare, hazard analysis critical control points (HACCP), worker safety, nutrition and environmental concerns.
The Foundation’s Research Advisory Committee is comprised of technical representatives from the North American Meat Institute’s member companies, allied stakeholders, government and university researchers. Each year the committees establish priorities for each target research area as well as emerging food safety concerns.
Education and Information
The Foundation offers both annual conferences that meat and poultry companies rely upon for educating their employees, as well as timely briefings created in response to new challenges.
Annual conferences include the Worker Safety, Labor and Employment Conference, Animal Care & Handling Conference, Annual Meat Conference and Environmental Conference for the Meat and Poultry Industry. Multiple workshops are held each year on Listeria intervention and control, ground meat and poultry safety and on other challenges that arise, like allergen control and animal disease concerns.
Providing information to media and consumers is an important function for the Foundation. The Foundation develops materials to educate consumers, like the Ask the Meat Scientist video series, which educates consumers about key topics ranging from safe cooking to proper portion size. In addition, the Foundation regularly briefs the media on scientific issues.
Staff, Governance and Funding
The Foundation is managed by the North American Meat Institute and governed by a Board of Directors who meet twice a year to review progress and identify future strategies.
The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and is supported by voluntary contributions from individuals and companies. Click here to learn about making a donation.