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USDA Unveils Final Rule Permitting Interstate Shipment of State-Inspected Meat Products

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

(American Meat Institute)

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service yesterday unveiled a final rule permitting interstate shipment of state-inspected meat products.  The rule, which is expected to publish in the Federal Register in the next few days, will require that state-inspected products crossing state lines be processed according to the same standards that apply to federally-inspected products. 

The rule, which was mandated by the 2008 Farm Bill, may be viewed here:  http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FRPubs/2008-0039F.pdf.  It will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

In comments filed in November 2009 about the proposed rule, AMI Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and General Counsel Mark Dopp supported the agency’s proposed requirements that products shipped interstate be subject to identical rules - not simply to rules that are deemed “equal to” federal rules.  Dopp said that the same approach “…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.”

In response to the new rule, Dopp said, “We are pleased that the new rule will require that state-inspected products shipped interstate must be subject to the same regulations and inspection requirements as federally-inspected products.  Not only is it a matter of fairness, such a requirement ensures that all meat crossing state lines is subject to the highest standards.”

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