Legislation Would Open New Markets for Small Producers and Processors

WASHINGTON, D.C. [2/1/21]—U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, recently helped introduce the bipartisan New Markets for State-Inspected Meat and Poultry Act, which would allow meat and poultry products inspected by state Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs to be sold across state lines.

This legislation is supported by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Farmers Union, and the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association.

“I fought for a spot on the Senate Agriculture Committee, and it’s my job to make sure Washington is helping expand markets for ag communities in Minnesota and across the country. This bill would accomplish that goal for meat and poultry producers and processors,” said Sen. Smith. “By ensuring meat and poultry products that pass strong state inspection standards are able to be sold across state lines, this bipartisan legislation would be good for producers, processors and consumers.”

“Legislation lifting the ban on interstate shipment of State inspected meat is a much needed change and would go a long way to support our smaller meat processors in Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture is pleased to see this bill moving forward,” said Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Peterson.

“COVID-19 and the closure of large packing plants has shed harsh light on the consolidated nature of our food system and the severe shortage of small and regional meat processors across the state,” said Minnesota Farmers Union President Gary Wertish. “This change would level the playing field for small, state-inspected plants, allowing them to compete for business across state lines. This commonsense move would help Minnesota build on our state inspection system and better serve family farmers.”

You can access text of the bill here.

 
There are 27 states with inspection programs, certified by the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), which meet or exceed federal inspection standards. However, products processed at these FSIS-approved and MPI-inspected state facilities are currently barred from being sold across state lines.

This legislation—led by Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Angus King (I-Maine)—is supported by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and John Thune (R-S.D.).

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