Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has amended state inspection rules to allow Wisconsin's specialty meat plants to sell their products across state lines for the first time.
"These small state-inspected meat processors have a vital place in our heritage, and now we can help assure they are just as important to our future," Walker said in a statement. "This new opportunity promises to increase their investments in personnel and capital, adding jobs and building the tax base in our state's rural areas."
Walker authorized the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, to begin the process of amending the administrative rule known as ATCP 55, which governs meat inspection in the state. The process will incorporate new federal regulations into the state regulation to allow meat from state-inspected meat plants to cross state lines.
Currently, only meat from plants inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture may be sold across state lines. Plants can choose to be regulated by state governments instead, but then they can sell their meat products only within their own states. Congress changed that law in 2008 and published regulations to carry out the law last May. States must get federal approval and formally adopt those federal regulations before their meat slaughterers and processors can voluntarily participate in the program.
Wisconsin has about 275 state-inspected meat plants and about 145 federally-inspected plants.