The American Meat Institute (AMI) was founded in Chicago, IL in 1906 just after the passage of the Federal Meat Inspection Act, one of the first U.S. laws to set federal food processing standards.  Originally called the American Meat Packers Association, the organization devoted much of its efforts in the early years to helping its nearly 300 member companies acclimate to the new federal inspection.  Other early issues included fighting Congressional efforts to saddle the meat industry with the costs of its own inspection, pushing for greater meat export opportunities and sponsoring meat nutrition research. 

In 1919, the organization became the Institute of American Meat Packers (IAMP).  Among the issues IAMP handled were fluctuating livestock and meat prices and calls for investigations of livestock marketing.  In 1922, IAMP launched new efforts in scientific research and industry education including a new program to promote meat to consumers.

By 1940, the Institute had expanded its meat promotion program to include consumer advertising and in that same year it changed its name to the current American Meat Institute (AMI).  In 1944, the AMI established the AMI Foundation (AMIF), complete with a commercial laboratory at the University of Chicago.

In 1979, AMI moved from Chicago, IL to Washington, DC to be closer to the federal government while regulatory and legislative affairs dominated the Institute's agenda.

Following the move to Washington, DC, AMI merged with the National Indpendent Meat Packers Association (NIMPA) in 1982 and began managing the U.S. Hide, Skin and Leather Association in 1990.  In 1991, AMI changed its bylaws to allow poultry processors to become full members and in 1992, the AMI Foundation was reestablished to focus on research, education and information of interest to the meat and poultry industry.  In 1999, the AMI Foundation launched a multi-million dollar, multi-year Food Safety Initiative with the goal of reducing and ultimately eliminated Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli 0157:H7 from meat and poultry products.

In 2006, AMI celebrated its 100 year anniversary as the leading trade association for the meat and poultry industry.

The issues of the this century are remarkably similar to those of AMI's previous decades.  The Institute, always member-driven, will continue to work hard to represent the interests of the U.S. meat and poultry industry to the federal government, Congress, the media and the ever-important customer.