USDA's Food safety and Inspection Service has scheduled two meetings on proposed regulations to implement a new program under which state-inspected establishments with 25 or fewer employees will be eligible to ship meat and poultry products in interstate commerce. The meetings will be held by teleconference. The first will be held on October 27, 2009, from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT and the second will be held on November 5, 2009, from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST.
In making the announcement, Deputy Ag Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said these meetings will help ensure that the proposed regulations successfully open doors for small meat and poultry establishments to provide safe products to their communities. This announcement will implement a directive of the 2008 Farm Bill and is one component of USDA's "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" initiative to help develop local and regional food systems and spur economic opportunity.
Pre-registration is required to participate in these meetings. More information is available at the FSIS web site. Comments on this voluntary cooperative program may also be submitted on or before Nov. 16, using either the Federal eRulemaking Portal, or by mail.