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USDA Expands Cooperative Interstate Shipping Program for Montana Meat Processors

WASHINGTON, March 21, 2022 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the State of Montana have finalized a Cooperative Interstate Shipping Agreement (CIS), which provides the ability for some state-inspected meat and poultry processors ship their products across state lines. Under the IEC agreement, the state of Montana can inspect meat products produced at selected facilities for shipment throughout the United States.

The CIS program was launched in 2012 under Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack after being authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. With the addition of Montana, 10 states now participate in the program to promote the expansion of business opportunities for state-inspected meat and poultry establishments. Under CIS, certain state-inspected establishments that comply with federal inspection requirements are permitted to ship their products in interstate commerce.

“This announcement is part of the USDA’s commitment to build more and better markets, a more resilient supply chain and a better food system, and to increase competition in agricultural markets across America” , said Sandra Eskin, USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Food Safety.

“USDA works with states to ensure they have the tools and resources to expand existing capabilities and thrive for many decades to come. The Cooperative Interstate Shipment program provides an excellent opportunity for small meat and poultry processors to develop their local and regional markets, while ensuring the safety of the meat and poultry products they produce,” she said.

The CIS program is limited to states that have established a Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) program for products to be shipped within the state only. To be eligible to participate in the CIS program, state MPI programs must meet a number of criteria to demonstrate that the inspection they provide to state-inspected factories will be the “same” as the inspection that FSIS provides. at official federal institutions. For example, a state must demonstrate that it has the necessary legal authority to administer and enforce requirements that are the same as the Federal Meat Inspection Act (LIMF), the Meat Products Inspection Act Poultry (PPIA) and applicable regulations. In addition, the state must take regulatory samples at the same frequency as federal inspectors and use the same analytical methods in laboratories that meet the same level of accreditation as FSIS laboratories. Designated state inspectors may remain the facility’s on-site inspectors, provided they have the same training and inspect the plant to the same regulatory standards as their federal counterparts at FSIS-inspected facilities. FSIS provides ongoing oversight of the CIS program to ensure that participating states maintain and operate their “identical” programs in a manner that complies with all applicable federal laws and regulations and follows FSIS guidelines and notices. FSIS reimburses states for 60% of their costs associated with providing this qualifying interstate inspection service.

In addition to Montana, FSIS has signed agreements with Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin. For more information on the CIS, visit www.fsis.usda.gov/cis.

The USDA touches the lives of all Americans every day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming the US food system with greater emphasis on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe food, healthy and nutritious in all communities, creating new markets and income streams for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in clean energy infrastructure and capacity in the Rural America, and committing to equity across the department by removing systemic barriers and creating a workforce that is more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.