Interstate Meat Shipment Bill
Farm Groups Launch National Grassroots Campaign
Washington, D.C. – A broad-based coalition of agricultural and farm organizations is urging Congress to take prompt action on legislation introduced June 15 that would allow interstate sales of state-inspected meat and poultry products. S. 3519, the Agricultural Small Business Opportunity and Enhancement Act of 2006, was introduced by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Kent Conrad (D-ND), and Herb Kohl (D-WI).
Agriculture coalition members said the legislation will resolve a basic inequity which has existed since 1967. Removing the current ban on interstate sales will level the economic playing field for small business, spur more competition in the marketplace, create a more uniform inspection system and further enhance food safety and consumer confidence in the food supply. The coalition is also launching a national grassroots campaign to support passage of the bill.
Coalition members include: the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA); American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP); Center for Rural Affairs; American Meat Goat Association; Kansas Livestock Association; National Farmers Union; National Grange; American Sheep Industry Association (ASI); Missouri Association of Meat Processors; Montana Chamber of Commerce; National Association of State Meat and Food Inspection Directors (NASMFID); National Bison Association; North Dakota Meat Processors Association (NDMPA); North Dakota Stockmen’s Association; Ohio Association of Meat Processors; R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America; Texas Association of Business; and Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors.
State and local agricultural groups have long sought to fix current law which is outdated and restricts free markets. The 1967 and 1968 Meat and Poultry Acts prohibit state-inspected products (beef, poultry, pork, lamb, and goat) from being sold in interstate commerce. However, the prohibition does not apply to “non-amenable” products—such as venison, pheasant, quail, rabbit, and a host of others. These products are normally regulated by state inspection programs, yet can be shipped in interstate commerce without restriction. The agricultural coalition pointed out that it does not make sense to allow these products to be shipped across state borders while beef, poultry, pork, lamb and goats cannot be shipped interstate.