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Rounds, King Reintroduce Legislation Allowing Local Meat and Poultry Products to be Sold Across State Lines

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Angus King (I-Maine) reintroduced the New Markets for State-Inspected Meat and Poultry Act. The bipartisan bill would allow meat and poultry products inspected by state Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs to be sold across state lines. Rounds and King introduced this legislation in the 115th and 116th sessions of Congress.

“South Dakota farmers and ranchers produce some of the highest-quality meat in the nation,” said Rounds. “However, currently 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. This makes no sense considering state inspection programs are required to be ‘at least equal to’ or better than federal state inspection standards. Our bill would allow these high-quality products that pass state inspection standards to be sold across state lines, opening up new markets for our producers and giving consumers greater choice at the grocery store.”

“If Maine farmers have already proven the quality of their meat and poultry products processed under federally-approved state programs, they should not have to jump through extra hoops to expand into new markets; this is almost the textbook definition of redundancy,” said Senator King. “This legislation will reduce unnecessary barriers in order to support small businesses and increase the availability of high-quality products that meet or exceed federal standards. This is common sense legislation that will support local agricultural leaders already meeting high standards, and increase choice for consumers – it’s a win-win, and I hope that the 117th Congress will seize this opportunity.”

“The challenges of the last year have brought a spotlight to the significant bottlenecks and obstacles of our nation’s food system,” said Julie Ann Smith, Executive Director of the Maine Farm Bureau. “Our farmer’s first priority is feeding our neighbors, whether they live down the street or in another state. Rather than watch our neighbors suffer with empty shelves, this legislation ensures that safe, inspected, and high-quality protein can be provided to consumers, giving them increased access and choices. We applaud Senator King’s efforts and his persistent support of agriculture.”

This legislation is supported by the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, South Dakota Farm Bureau, Maine Farm Bureau, the South Dakota Pork Producers, the South Dakota Meat Inspection Program Director and the South Dakota Stockgrowers.

Currently, there are 27 states with inspection programs, certified by the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), which meet or exceed federal inspection standards. However, products processed at these FSIS approved state MPI inspected facilities are not currently allowed to be sold across state lines.

Original cosponsors include U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and John Thune (R-S.D.).