One of the speed bumps in the ability of beef producers to sell directly to consumers is the restriction that products from state-inspected meat plants can’t cross state borders. That’s beginning to change.
Iowa is the latest state to become part of the Cooperative Interstate Shipment agreement (CIS). The CIS program promotes the expansion of business opportunities for state-inspected meat and poultry establishments. Under CIS, state-inspected plants can operate as federally inspected facilities, under specific conditions, and ship their product in interstate commerce.
The CIS agreement between USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the State of Iowa was carefully reviewed and approved by FSIS over an 11-month period and will allow the State of Iowa to operate a CIS program, which provides an opportunity for certain state-inspected meat and poultry processors to ship their products across state lines.
The CIS program is limited to plants located in the 27 states that have established a Meat and Poultry Inspection Program (MPI) and maintain “at least equal to” FSIS regulatory standards. The assigned state inspectors under the “at least equal to” program will remain as the plant’s onsite inspectors, provided they have the same training and inspect the plant under “the same” regulatory standards as their federal counterparts in FSIS-inspected plants.
FSIS provides ongoing oversight of the CIS program to ensure that participating states maintain and operate their “same as” programs in a manner that complies with all applicable federal statutes and regulations and follows FSIS directives and notices. FSIS also verifies that selected establishments in the CIS participating state remain eligible to participate in the CIS program.
The CIS program was created by the 2008 Farm Bill and since then, FSIS has signed agreements with Indiana, Maine, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
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