The National Cattlemen's Beef Association has submitted comments to USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service in support of a proposed rule to allow the interstate shipping of certain meat and poultry products. The proposal would establish a new cooperative state program to permit the sale and shipment of meat across state lines. NCBA says the program will help small establishments grow their businesses and open up new opportunities for cattle producers to do business at the local level.
NCBA's director of legislative affairs, Kristina Butts, says this program is a great opportunity to grow local demand for beef and increase competition. NCBA fought for this provision in the 2008 Farm Bill, and are pleased that USDA is finally working toward its implementation.
At the same time, NCBA is asking FSIS to clarify guidance for establishments in states that potentially become ineligible to participate. The proposed rule states that once an establishment applies to participate, it would have to transition and become federally inspected if it were ever deselected from the program. It's unclear, the group says, what would happen to establishments participating in the voluntary program in the event its respective state was to become ineligible to participate.