October 5, 2007
October 5, 2007 - With the U.S. Senate beginning its consideration of the Farm Bill, the Coalition for Fair Agriculture and Rural Markets forwarded a letter to members urging them to support legislation that would allow state-inspected meat and poultry to be sold in the national marketplace.
Twenty-eight states currently have meat and poultry inspection programs that serve more than 2,000 state-inspected meat processors. These processors, mostly smaller businesses, are prevented from competing in the national marketplace.
A law from the 1960s prohibits the sale of state-inspected meat products (sheep, goat, beef, poultry and pork) across state lines, even though these products must meet or exceed federal inspection standards. Meat and poultry products from 34 foreign countries can be freely shipped and sold anywhere in the United States, as long as that country's inspection program is equivalent to federal standards - essentially the same standards that state meat-inspection programs must meet.
No other food commodities inspected by state authorities are prohibited from being shipped across state lines. Other state-inspected food products, including perishable items such as milk, dairy products, fruit, vegetables, fish and shellfish, are marketed freely across the country. The current ban on interstate sales does not apply to 'non-amenable' meats such as venison, pheasant, quail, rabbit and others.
The American Sheep Industry Association is one of the nearly 70 agricultural organizations urging the passage of this legislation. Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33