DENVER – This week the U.S. Meat Export Federation is hosting officials from the European Union’s meat industry on a four-day tour focusing on pathogen-reduction technologies (PRTs) in hopes these technologies will someday be used throughout the EU.

"Our primary objective is to provide these industry leaders with a first-hand look at how these advancements in PRTs really provide a significant benefit to our consumers, and can do the same for their consumers," said Paul Clayton, USMEF senior vice president of export services. "Certainly, we want to put these trade barriers behind us, but it’s also important to improve our trading partners’ understanding of how these technologies work and why they are so effective in reducing pathogens."

PRTs have been embraced by the U.S. meat industry for many years to enhance meat safety. However, a lack of global understanding of PRTs has created trade barriers in some markets, including the EU. So, the tour is providing key European food-safety officials with an up-close look at PRTs and how they are used by the U.S. meat industry.

On Jan. 26, the EU team stopped first at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., where leading meat industry researchers discussed PRT applications and hide-on cleaning and their role in the safety of beef and pork products. Next, the group visited Birko Corporation in Henderson, Colo., for a presentation on the composition and manufacturing of PRT compounds.

On Jan. 27 the team visited the U.S. headquarters of JBS S.A. in Greeley, Colo., to tour the company’s beef-processing plant and lab facility. EU officials examined the application of PRTs and hide-on cleaning systems. The team then traveled to Marshalltown, Iowa, on Jan. 28 to tour a JBS pork processing plant and lab facility.

On Jan. 29, the team is visiting Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, where the focus will be on meat irradiation advances. Leading researchers at the university will address common misconceptions about irradiation, as well as the promise the technology holds for improving food safety.

It is hoped the group’s findings during this tour will help the United States to gain EU acceptance of PRT use, plus expand the global understanding of the benefits provided by these technologies, said John Brook, USMEF regional director for Europe and the Middle East.

"If the request to use these technologies is coming solely from the United States, it’s not going to go anywhere," Mr. Brook added. "There must be active interest on the part of the EU if we are going to be successful in that effort."

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