A bipartisan bill -- the New Markets for State-Inspected Meat & Poultry Act -- would allow meat and poultry products inspected by state meat and poultry inspection (MPI) programs to be sold across state lines.
Currently, 27 states have inspection programs certified by the Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) that meet or exceed federal inspection standards. However, products processed at these FSIS-approved state MPI facilities are not currently allowed to be sold across state lines.
U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds (R., S.D.) and Angus King (I., Maine) introduced the bill, and Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.) is an original co-sponsor. Rounds said the bipartisan, commonsense bill will create new markets for producers and give consumers more choices at the grocery store while continuing to maintain the high quality and safety standards necessary to keep consumers healthy.
“At a time of economic downturn within the ag sector, opening up new markets for South Dakota producers is critically important,” Rounds said. “Currently in South Dakota, cattle, sheep, swine and goat products are limited to markets within the state, even though they are required to go through inspection at an FSIS-approved state facility. Because the state inspection programs are required to be ‘at least equal to’ or better than the federal inspection standards, products that pass state inspection should be able to be sold across state lines.”
King added, “Maine farmers and producers who meet or exceed high-quality state inspection standards for their meat and poultry should have the freedom to access new markets in other states. It makes no sense that a local farmer should have to jump through extra federal hoops to compete outside of Maine if they have proven the quality of their product at a federally approved state facility. This commonsense legislation gives our state’s agricultural sector more flexibility to expand its customer base and bring Maine-made meat and poultry products to people throughout the country.”
Kenny Graner, president of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Assn., said the bill will strengthen local economies by allowing meat and poultry products inspected under state MPI programs to be sold across state lines.
“This opens access to new markets that were previously unavailable due to outdated federal regulations. Facilities operating under a state meat inspection program have to jump through the same hoops as those regulated under the federal meat inspection program. For South Dakota, this means that the 80 state-inspected establishments will be able to sell South Dakota beef across state lines to nearby Minnesota, Nebraska, Wyoming and others. The idea that beef from approved South American countries may be sold across state lines in the United States while state-inspected products can’t go from South Dakota to North Dakota illustrates the inequities of our current law.”
This legislation is supported by the U.S. Cattlemen’s Assn., South Dakota Farm Bureau, Maine Farm Bureau, South Dakota Pork Producers, South Dakota's Meat Inspection Program director, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, South Dakota Stockgrowers and South Dakota Cattlemen’s Assn.