On Monday, November 16, NSAC submitted comments on the proposed rule of USDA’s Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) to implement the cooperative federal-state program for the interstate shipment of state-inspected meat established in Section 11015 of the 2008 Farm Bill. Under the program, states can agree with USDA to have an FSIS designated employee coordinate meat and poultry inspections done by state inspectors in small and very small processing establishments. Eligible establishments are to have, on average, 25 or fewer employees. NSAC supported this Farm Bill measure with a view to increasing the number of meat and poultry processing facilities available to small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers who want to access interstate markets.
NSAC comments emphasized the need for FSIS to implement a streamlined program with regulatory requirements appropriate to ensure that small or very small processing establishments meet food safety requirements. Our comments also addressed the need for outreach and training by FSIS, including training on humane methods of animal transport, handling and slaughter.