Several U.S. senators have joined together to reintroduce the bipartisan, bicameral New Markets for State-Inspected Meat and Poultry Act to allow meat and poultry products inspected by state Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs to be sold across state lines. The co-sponsors of the bill say the legislation would open up new markets for farmers and livestock producers across the country while maintaining high inspection standards.
"South Dakota producers raise some of the highest-quality meat and poultry in the world," said Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.). "However, meat and poultry products are limited to markets within the state even though they are required to go through inspection at a state facility that meets or exceeds federal inspection standards. This is a disadvantage to producers and consumers alike. Our bipartisan bill would allow these high-quality products that pass federally-equivalent state inspection standards to be sold across state lines, which would open up new markets for our producers and give consumers more choices at the grocery store."
Currently, 29 states have their own inspection programs which are certified by the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service and meet or exceed federal inspection standards. However, existing law prohibits products processed at these FSIS-approved state MPI inspected facilities to be sold across state lines.
"Despite the requirement of state inspection programs to meet or exceed federal inspection standards, our local producers aren't able to sell their products across state lines," said Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). I'm proud to reintroduce this bipartisan, bicameral legislation to open new markets for our agricultural businesses and strengthen our national food supply chain. I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this commonsense reform which will directly benefit our local producers and help ensure sustainable, healthy food for every American table."
"The meat processing sector is one of the most consolidated industries in the United States today," said Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND). "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."
The co-sponsors say since MPI standards must be at least equal to federal safety standards, it makes sense to authorize the sale of state-certified products across state lines. This bill neither affects the Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) program, nor explicitly enables the export of the products at issue.
Rounds, Cramer and Munchin were joined by Senators Angus King (I-ME), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Barrasso (R-WY), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), John Thune (R-SD), John Hoeven (R-ND) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) in co-sponsoring the bill.
Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Alex X. Mooney (R-WV).
"I am proud to support the New Markets for State-Inspected Meat and Poultry Act," said Mooney. "High-quality products that pass rigorous inspection standards in states like West Virginia should be able to be sold across state lines without further inspection. This bill ensures safe, inspected and high-quality meat can be provided to American consumers while opening new markets and providing more choices at the grocery store."
The legislation was previously introduced in the 115th, 116th and 117th sessions of Congress.