U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, and and Angus King, I-Maine, on May 10 introduced the New Markets for State-Inspected Meat and Poultry ActThe bipartisan bill would allow meat and poultry products inspected by state Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs to be sold across state lines. 

Currently, there are 27 states with inspection programs, certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), which meet or exceed federal inspection standards, according to a press release from Rounds’ office. However, products processed at these FSIS approved state MPI inspected facilities are not currently allowed to be sold across state lines.

 “At a time of economic downturn within the ag sector, opening up new markets for South Dakota producers is critically important,” said Rounds. “Currently in South Dakota, cattle, sheep, swine and goat products are limited to markets within the state even though they are required to go through inspection at an FSIS-approved state facility. Because the state inspection programs are required to be ‘at least equal to’ or better than the federal inspection standards, products that pass state inspection should be able to be sold across state lines. Our bipartisan, commonsense bill will create new markets for producers and give consumers more choices at the grocery store, while continuing to maintain the high quality and safety standards necessary to keep consumers healthy.”

 “Maine farmers and producers who meet or exceed high-quality state inspection standards for their meat and poultry should have the freedom to access new markets in other states,” said King. “It makes no sense that a local farmer should have to jump through extra federal hoops to compete outside of Maine if they have proven the quality of their product at a federally-approved state facility. This common sense legislation gives our state’s agricultural sector more flexibility to expand its customer base and bring Maine-made meat and poultry products to people throughout the country.”

 Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, is an original cosponsor of this legislation.

Support for the bill

This legislation is supported by the United States Cattlemen’s Association, the South Dakota Farm Bureau, the Maine Farm Bureau, the South Dakota Pork Producers, the South Dakota Meat Inspection program director, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, the South Dakota Stockgrowers and the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association.