Selling Local Processed Meat and Poultry Across State Lines
KDHL News Director Gordy Kosfeld gave me a story about Senator Angie Craig introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate to allow local processed meat and poultry inspected by state agencies to be sold across state lines. Then I read that Senator Angus King of Maine and Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota also reintroduced a bill to allow local processed meat and poultry inspected by state agencies to be sold across state lines. I think you could say this issue has bipartisan support because you have Republican, Democrat and Independent Senators supporting the issue.
I am sure the Federal Law not allowing local processed meat and poultry to be sold across state lines has been "on the books" for quite some time. Back in the day there was likely a very good reason for requiring only Federal Inspected Processing plants to sell meat and poultry across state lines. Today there are 27 states that have inspection programs certified by the Food Safety Inspection Service that exceed federal guidelines but still cannot sell their products across state lines.
Just think of how frustrating this law would be for a local processor that was located close to a state boarder. My home town of Wells for example is located just 6 miles north of the Iowa boarder. So a local processor could not sell any meat or poultry to a grocery store more than a few miles south of them because it is across the state line and has an Iowa address, even though it is inspected by the Minnesota Department of agriculture? This is almost like I have a Minnesota drivers license but I cannot drive a car in Iowa or South Dakota?
When I was a Grade A dairy farmer I would have an inspector from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture that would stop by every 4 to 6 months to inspect my dairy farm. You would not know when they were coming. Then about every 2 years there would be a Federal Inspector from the USDA that would be there for an inspection. Plus, around every 2 years there would be an Interstate inspector that would inspect my farm too.
I suspect all the inspections I had on my Grade A Dairy farm were abiding by similar laws applying to local meat processing plants too. However, the Federal and Interstate Inspections did not really affect me very much. If I passed the State Inspection then I would pass the Federal and Interstate inspections too. I am sure my milk processing plant shipped dairy products across state lines so all their dairy farms had to be inspected by Federal and Interstate inspectors.
I hope this Federal Law can be changed so local meat and poultry processing plants can sell to any customer that wants to buy their products.
Quiz: How many of these spots in Southeast Minnesota can you name?