J. Patrick Boyle, the longest serving president in the American Meat Institute's (AMI) 107-year history, announced today (July 19) that he will step down at the end of this year as president and CEO after 24 years of service.
Boyle joined AMI in 1990 after serving as administrator of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. Before that, he worked as an attorney at several food trade associations and as agricultural legislative assistant to former Senator Pete Wilson (R-CA).
"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."
"Under Patrick's 24 years of leadership, AMI has been an influential voice for the meat and poultry industry successfully addressing numerous public policy challenges. 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," said AMI Chairman Nick Meriggioli, president of Kraft Foods Inc./Oscar Mayer.
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. USDA subsequently issued final regulations on both proposals.
Boyle joined AMI prior to some of the industry's most notable recent challenges. When E. coli O157:H7 emerged as a new pathogen of concern in the early 1990s, Boyle led the re-establishment of the AMI Foundation, which made its mission to reduce and ultimately eliminate E. coli O157:H7 in raw ground beef and Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat products. During his tenure, the foundation's research and education programs made substantial contributions toward the food safety progress that is evidenced by the declining levels of bacteria on many meat and poultry products.
During the 1990s, Boyle and his team also were the early adopters of the animal welfare approach of Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University, who contended that "you manage what you measure." AMI first partnered with Grandin in 1991 on its Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines for the Meat Industry and later on an animal welfare audit program that has become the global standard around the world and is a condition of doing business with many leading foodservice and retail customers.
Also under his leadership, the AMI board voted to make key issues non-competitive, including food safety, animal welfare, worker safety and the environment. These decisions fostered a collaborative approach within the industry that has enhanced food safety, improved animal handling in meat plants, reduced worker illnesses and injury and made progressive environmental practices part of doing business.
Boyle will continue to serve in his role as president and CEO until the end of 2013. A search for a successor is under way.