WASHINGTON – J. Patrick Boyle, CEO and president of the American Meat Institute, announced he will step down at the end of 2013 after 24 years of service in the meat and poultry industry. Boyle is the longest serving president in AMI's 107-year history. A search is underway for a successor.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to lead this great industry for more than two decades,” he said. “With the organization in a sound position to meet the challenges of the future and given the many accomplishments of the last two decades, this year seemed like an appropriate time for me to move onto another phase of my professional life.”

Before joining AMI in 1990, Boyle served as administrator of the US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service. Before that, he was an attorney at several food trade associations and was an agricultural legislative assistant to former Sen. Pete Wilson (R-Calif.).

Boyle joined the Institute before the meat and poultry industry faced some of its most notable challenges. He led the re-establishment of the AMI Foundation whenE. coliO157:H7 emerged as a new pathogen of concern in the early 1990s. The Foundation's mission is to reduce and ultimately eliminateE. coliO157:H7 in raw ground beef andListeriamonocytogenes in ready-to-eat products. During his tenure, AMI said, the Foundation’s research and education programs have made substantial contributions towards the food safety progress that is evidenced by the declining levels of bacteria on many meat and poultry products.

During Boyle’s tenure, AMI formally petitioned the USDA to require nutrition labels on meat and poultry products and to promulgate a regulation requiring that meat and poultry plants implement HACCP-based food safety controls, AMI said. USDA subsequently issued final regulations on both proposals.

“Under Patrick’s twenty-four years of leadership, AMI has been an influential voice for the meat and poultry industry successfully addressing numerous public policy challenges,” said AMI Chairman Nick Meriggioli, president of Kraft Foods, Inc./Oscar Mayer. “He has led AMI’s efforts that have enhanced the safety of our products, the protection of our workers, the welfare of our animals and the preservation of our environment.”