The American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF) is a non-profit research, education and information foundation established by the American Meat Institute. AMIF seeks to identify technologies and practices that enable meat and poultry companies to produce safer and more nutritious meat and poultry products. 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.
While the current Foundation was started in 1992, AMIF has a rich history dating 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 AMIF was re-launched.
Today, AMIF provides research grants to universities, private institutions, non-profit organizations and other foundations. AMIF disseminates research findings, knowledge and best practices through briefings, workshops and other industry communication efforts.
Research Priorities and Projects
AMIF 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.
In 1999, AMIF launched a multi-million dollar, multi-year Food Safety Initiative with the goal of: 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.
The AMIF Research Advisory Committee comprised of technical representatives from AMI member companies, 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
AMIF 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, Health and the Environment Conference, Animal Care & Handling Conference, Annual Meat Conference and Meat and Poultry Research Conference. 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. AMIF regularly briefs media on scientific issues. In addition, AMIF develops materials to educate consumers like the Ask the Meat Scientist video series, which reaches consumers on a variety of timely topics from proper cooking to proper portion size.
Staff, Governance and Funding
The Foundation is managed by the American Meat Institute and governed by a Board of Directors comprised of AMI Members who meet twice a year to review progress and identify future strategies. AMIF is staffed by six experts in meat and animal science, food safety, animal welfare, communications and education.
The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) funded entirely by the American Meat Institute.