WASHINGTON The National Cattlemens Beef Association (NCBA) submitted
comments yesterday to the U.S. Department of Agricultures (USDA) Food Safety
Inspection Service (FSIS) regarding a proposed rule to allow the interstate
shipping of certain meat and poultry products. The proposal would establish a
new cooperative state programas directed under section 11015 of the 2008 Farm
Billto permit the sale and shipment of meat across state lines. The program
will help small establishments grow their businesses and open up new
opportunities for cattle producers to do business at the local level. Currently,
meat processors operating under cooperative state inspection programs are
prohibited from selling their products out of state.
This program is a great opportunity to grow local demand for beef and increase
competition, said Kristina Butts, director, legislative affairs. NCBA fought
for this provision in the 2008 Farm Bill and were pleased that USDA is finally
working towards its implementation.
While NCBA is pleased with the spirit of the program, it is asking FSIS to
clarify guidance for establishments in states which 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. Its unclear what would
happen to establishments participating in the voluntary program in the event its
respective state was to become ineligible to participate.
It could be devastating to local markets if a plant had to shut down because
its not allowed to revert back to being a regular state-inspected plant, said
Cattle producers appreciate the opportunity for states to apply for transition
grants to reimburse selected establishments for the cost of employee Hazardous
Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) training and the development of
sanitation standard operating procedures. In order to encourage broad
participation, NCBA is asking FSIS to notify states and establishments of the
training opportunities to produce the safest products possible.
Safety is a non-competitive issue for the beef industry and we encourage USDA
to continue working with the industry, stakeholders and states to achieve our
common goal of producing safe beef products, Butts continued. This program
will help ensure that high quality product continues to be delivered into the
marketplace, while providing cattle producers and consumers the opportunity for
more local beef supplies.
NCBA appreciates the opportunity to review and comment on the program, and we
look forward to working with USDA on its implementation.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has represented America’s
cattle producers since 1898, preserving the heritage and strength of the
industry through education and public policy. As the largest association of
cattle producers, NCBA works to create new markets and increase demand for beef.
Efforts are made possible through membership contributions. To join, contact
NCBA at 1-866-BEEF-USA or
Photo Credit: Charles Danko