Following USDA’s decision to send an interim final Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the North American Meat Institute reiterated its concerns about the proposal in a press release. The Meat Institute stated that research suggests the GIPSA rule could have a multi-billion dollar impact harming consumers, retailers, producers, meat packers and processors alike.

“It is irresponsible for USDA to advance this stale six-year-old rulemaking,” said Meat Institute President and CEO Barry Carpenter in a press release. “The interim final rule as described will open a floodgate of litigation, up-end the established system for marketing cattle, pork and poultry in the US, and add costs at every step along the process from producers to consumers.”

The Meat Institute stated that the interim final rule defies the will of Congress expressed in multiple appropriations measures and signed by the President, it directly circumvents the rulings of eight separate federal appeals courts and is opposed by the largest producer groups in the country.

The Meat Institute and several producer groups had requested that USDA reopen the comment period on the 2010 proposed rules to permit additional, current comments based on today’s market conditions. The rules were originally published six years ago and in that time significant changes have occurred in the livestock, meat and poultry sector.  New markets have emerged and there is enhanced competition for sourcing livestock for slaughter.

GIPSA and changes in consumer demand

Similarly, demands from retail and foodservice customers for specific animal handling and production requirements such as organic, grass fed, raised without antibiotics and others have created new marketing and business opportunities for poultry and livestock producers and their packer customers. If consistent with what was proposed in 2010, the interim rule undermines these marketing agreements and impacts the availability of these products for consumers.

“Despite the Administration’s promises of transparency, USDA is dusting off a six-year-old proposal that was rejected by Congress through four funding bills, and is foisting an interim final rule on the meat and poultry industry without any meaningful comment process or input from the industry most impacted,” said Carpenter. “This represents Washington, DC, bureaucracy at its worst.”