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New Markets for State-Inspected Meat and Poultry Act introduced 

By: Sydney Sheffield 

A new bipartisan bill titled, New Markets for State-Inspected Meat and Poultry Act, has been introduced to allow meat and poultry products inspected by state Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs to be sold across state lines. The goal of the bill is to create new markets for farmers and livestock producers across the country while maintaining high inspection standards. The act was introduced by Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Angus King (I-ME) to the Senate. 

“The meat processing sector is one of the most consolidated industries in the United States today,” said Senator Cramer, in a press release. “By permitting the sale of state-inspected meats across state lines, our legislation would expand market opportunities for North Dakota ranchers, better position smaller processors to compete against larger competition, and give consumers more choice at the grocery store.”

In the United States, there are currently three types of meat and poultry inspection programs for products sold for human consumption: 

  • Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) federal inspection: Federally inspected meat is allowed to be sold across state lines and exported

  • Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) Program: CIS-inspected products are treated as federally inspected 

  • FSIS-approved Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs: 29 States have a USDA-FSIS-approved MPI program, which provides inspection of meat and/or poultry

As stated above, only 29 states’ house inspection programs are certified by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) FSIS. These establishments, however, do not receive the federal inspection stamp but rather a state inspection stamp. Only products with a federal inspection stamp are allowed to be sold across state lines. This bill would change that. 

The Senators point out that this bill does not eliminate or phase out the CIS program. If passed, the CIS facilities currently operating across the ten states that utilize this program can continue as they are. Additionally, this bill does not explicitly allow for products inspected by state MPI programs to be exported. 

The bill has the support of those in the meat and poultry industry. Bill Bullard CEO of R-CALF USA said, “This long-needed bill recognizes that states are equally competent and qualified to ensure the safety and wholesomeness of meat produced from locally raised livestock. It helps alleviate the supply chain bottleneck, is good for livestock producers and consumers, and will provide out-of-state customers with more choices.”  

Likewise, Doug Sombke, President of the South Dakota Farmers Union and a Conde crop and cattle producer said, “This issue really boils down to the fact that in South Dakota we have more livestock than people. And South Dakota is home to excellent, local meat processing facilities and our state’s inspection service is as good, if not better than federal inspections. This bill would allow cattle producers to process meat locally and then access consumer markets outside of South Dakota. We all know what it was like to go through food shortages during the pandemic. This would allow us to provide our superior product to as many people as possible.” 

Read the bill here