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AMI Submit Comments in Support of Rule Governing Interstate Shipment of Meat and Poultry Products

Friday, November 20, 2009

(American Meat Institute)

AMI submitted comments today in support of Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Rule 2008–0039 that would allow inspected establishments to participate in cooperative interstate shipments of meat and poultry products.  AMI explained that the rule would in no way impose any added burden upon companies with respect to their existing operations, and by participating, these facilities are, of their own volition, agreeing to the stringent regulatory requirements imposed by the statute.

“AMI supports the rule because it adheres to the strict standard set in the enabling statute that state-inspected facilities that wish to ship meat and poultry products in interstate commerce comply with the same regulatory requirements applicable to federally inspected establishment,” the comments note.  “This fundamental proposition, that the playing field be level for all companies engaging in interstate commerce, was a critical element in securing passage of the statutory provisions that authorized this rule,” the statement adds.

The comments explained that the rule must contain language that ensures that state establishments selected to be eligible to ship in interstate commerce be “in compliance with all requirements under the Act [the Federal Meat Inspection Act] and the implementing regulations in this chapter.”  Additionally, the comments point out that AMI also supports the proposed enforcement provisions that would require selected establishments to provide FSIS officials with “access to all establishment records required under the Act and the implementing regulations in this chapter.”

The comments explain that the approach taken by FSIS throughout this proposed rule, to treat selected establishments that voluntarily request the opportunity to participate in a cooperative interstate shipment program in a manner identical to federally inspected establishments, is both consistent with the provisions and intent of the enabling law, as well as ensuring the equitable application of the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, and their attendant regulations.

“To that end, AMI encourages the agency to retain the above-discussed provisions to help ensure first and foremost the safety of the meat and poultry supply but also to ensure equity in the marketplace,” the comments note.

 To view the comments in their entirety, click here: http://www.meatinstitute.org/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/55383

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