Speaking at the Meat Industry Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia, Julie Anne Potts, who recently succeeded Barry Carpenter as NAMI president, addressed a room full of some of the biggest names in the US meat industry about what her vision was during her role.
Potts began her tenure at the beginning of February after Carpenter announced his retirement as president of NAMI at the end of December 2017.
The new president spoke about her time with mentor Carpenter and praised the industry for being the most dedicated and passionate people in the world.
Despite strongly praising the US meat sector, Potts said that the industry had some “really big issues” on the table to solve.
“We have to figure out how we earn and maintain consumer trust in our protein and the way it is produced. We have such great stories to tell about the improvements that have been made to worker and food safety, as well as the way we handle animals,” she said.
“These things tend to get lost, but we have to connect with consumers in a way that they will want a dialogue and a conversation with us about what we do and to commit to continuous improvements, particularly when it comes to the environment and how our nutritional aspects are unparalleled with any other type of protein. We’ve got to think of positive and proactive ways to do that and frankly discuss on an ongoing basis about why the EAT-Lancet report, that came out a couple of weeks ago, reports to be ‘the consensus document’ and the consensus of the experts that didn’t even include folks that produce meat or conventional agriculture in their ranks.”
Potts also discussed challenges on the regulatory and the labelling aspects of new technologies such as cell-based meat, as well as continuing labour issues.
“Putting aside plant-based protein, we have had the opportunity to have these items [cell based meats] regulated and labelled by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). This was due to the work of Barry Carpenter and determining that this conversation needed to take place with The White House and the Government over the last six to eight months,” added Potts.
“We are witnessing a disruption and we want to ensure there is a level playing field. We to need to ensure that we continue these conversations vigilantly with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”