The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) and the state of Vermont have finalized a Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) agreement. The agreement was carefully reviewed and approved by FSIS over several weeks and will allow Vermont to operate a CIS Program, which provides an opportunity for certain state-inspected meat and poultry processors to ship their products across state lines.
The CIS Program promotes the expansion of business opportunities for state-inspected meat and poultry establishments. Under the program, certain state-inspected plants that comply with federal inspection requirements are permitted to ship their products in interstate commerce.
The CIS Program is limited to plants located in the 27 states that have established a Meat & Poultry Inspection (MPI) Program. To be eligible to participate in the CIS Program, state MPI programs must meet a number of criteria to demonstrate that the inspection provided to state-inspected plants will be the “same as” the inspection FSIS provides to official federal establishments. For instance, a state must demonstrate that it has the necessary legal authority to administer and enforce requirements that are the same as the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act and applicable regulations.
In addition, the state must collect regulatory samples at the same frequency and use the same analytical methods at laboratories that meet the same level of accreditation as the FSIS laboratories. The assigned state inspectors may remain as the plant’s on-site inspectors, provided that they have the same training and inspect the plant under the “same as” regulatory standards as their federal counterparts in FSIS-inspected plants. FSIS provides ongoing oversight of the CIS Program to ensure that participating states maintain and operate their “same as” programs in a manner that complies with all applicable federal statutes and regulations and follows FSIS directives and notices.
CIS establishments must have fewer than 25 employees. The state recommends establishments for FSIS to select for participation in the CIS Program. FSIS verifies that the state-inspected establishments comply with all requirements under the federal statutes, including meeting the federal regulatory requirements for sanitation performance standards and developing written hazard analysis and critical control points plans. The ongoing oversight by FSIS includes verification that each CIS establishment continues to meet these and all other applicable federal requirements, such as submission, approval and use of FSIS-approved labels, under the same conditions as FSIS-inspected establishments.
The CIS Program was created by the 2008 farm bill, and since then, FSIS has signed agreements with Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin. For more information about CIS, visit https://www.fsis.usda.gov/cis.