Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced Thursday that Story City Locker, LLC, is the first Iowa meat processing facility to be admitted into the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service Cooperative Interstate Shipment program. Under the CIS program, smaller, state-inspected facilities can remain under state inspection but are allowed to apply a federal-style mark of inspection and sell products across state lines.
Members of the Iowa Meat Processors Association approached the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in 2019 about implementing the CIS program to help small meat processing facilities, like Story City Locker, grow their businesses. The program also helps producers get their products stocked on regional grocery store shelves.
"Local meat lockers play an important role in their communities and the food supply chain," says Secretary Naig. "We pursued the CIS program to help small Iowa businesses grow, and give consumers more access to Iowa-grown meat and poultry products."
"This is a great program for Iowa's small meat processors and their communities. We are proud to be the first facility to go live," says Ty Gustafson, owner of the Story City Locker. "Special thanks to the Meat and Poultry Bureau team for being willing to take this on to expand opportunities for small businesses. A great example of regulatory staff working with businesses to find a solution."
The Department worked with the Iowa Meat Processors Association and USDA FSIS for almost a year to ensure the state met all the CIS program requirements. The Department made administrative rule changes, invested in new equipment and provided additional training for its Meat and Poultry Bureau inspectors to ensure Iowa producers had the opportunity to expand into new markets.
Secretary Naig signed the CIS agreement with USDA FSIS on May 20. To qualify for the CIS program, a meat processor must have fewer than 25 full-time employees and comply with all federal food safety, sanitation and facility regulations. There are 68 meat processing facilities in the state of Iowa that are eligible for the CIS program. To date, 14 meat processing facilities have applied for the CIS program and three have been selected, including Al's Country Meat Locker and Ohrt's Smokehouse. Individual livestock producers cannot apply but they can sell their products across state lines if the meat and poultry are processed at a CIS facility.