Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig finalized a Cooperative Interstate Shipment agreement with the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Wednesday. This means state-inspected meat and poultry processors in Iowa are one step closer to being able to sell their products across state lines. Eligible processors can now apply for admission to the CIS program.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the important role that local community meat lockers play in the food supply chain," says Naig. "I am excited for these meat processors to have the opportunity to grow their businesses, move more products and access new markets. It also gives consumers more access to Iowa-raised and processed meat."
State-inspected meat processors are smaller than their federally-inspected counterparts but are held to equal standards. 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. Individual livestock producers cannot apply to the CIS program but they can sell their meat and poultry products across state lines if they are processed at a CIS facility.
State of Iowa meat inspectors visit state-inspected facilities every day they process products that bear the mark of inspection. State meat inspectors examine the livestock, quality of the meat, facility sanitation and record-keeping so consumers can have confidence in the meat and poultry products they buy. CIS facilities will also receive periodic visits from USDA FSIS officials to ensure they are operating in compliance with federal guidelines.
Iowa is the seventh state to enter into a CIS agreement with the USDA FSIS. To date, there are 68 official, state-inspected facilities in Iowa who are eligible to apply to the CIS program. Meat processors who are interested in applying for the CIS program should visit IowaAgriculture.gov or call 515-281-3338.
A complete list of approved CIS establishments is available on the USDA FSIS website. Iowa plants will be added to this list as they apply and are accepted into the CIS program.