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USDA Expands Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program for Meat Processors to 9 States with Addition of South Dakota

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the State of South Dakota have finalized a Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) agreement, which provides an opportunity for selected state-inspected meat and poultry processors to ship their products across state lines. Under the CIS agreement, the State of South Dakota may inspect meat in selected establishments 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. Currently, 9 states participate in the program to promote the expansion of business opportunities for state-inspected meat and poultry establishments. Under CIS, selected state-inspected establishments that comply with federal inspection requirements are permitted to ship their product in interstate commerce.

“If we’re going to strengthen our nation’s food system and prevent supply chain bottlenecks before they occur, then we must continue to provide smaller meat processing establishments the opportunity to build their local and regional marketplaces,” said Sandra Eskin, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety. “The Cooperative Interstate Shipment program is a little-known but powerful tool designed to diversify the marketplace for meat and poultry processors, while ensuring the safety of the meat and poultry products they produce. We want to work with  other states to encourage participation in this important program.”

The CIS program is limited to establishments located in the 27 states that have established a Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) program. To be eligible to participate in the CIS program, state MPI programs must meet a number of criteria to demonstrate that the inspection that it provides to state-inspected plants will be the “same as” the inspection that FSIS provides to official federal establishments. For instance, 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 (FMIA), the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) and applicable regulations. In addition, the state must collect regulatory samples at the same frequency and use the same analytical methods at laboratories that meet the same level of accreditation as the FSIS laboratories. The assigned state inspectors may remain as the establishment’s onsite inspectors, provided they have the same training and inspect the plant under the “same as” regulatory standards as their federal counterparts in FSIS-inspected establishments. FSIS provides ongoing oversight of the CIS program to ensure that participating states maintain and operate their “same as” programs in a manner that complies with all applicable federal statutes and regulations and follows FSIS directives and notices. FSIS reimburses the states for 60% of their costs associated with providing this interstate eligible inspection service.

By law, CIS establishments must employ fewer than 25 employees. The state recommends establishments for selection by FSIS for participation in the CIS program. FSIS verifies the state-inspected establishments comply with all the requirements under the federal statutes, including meeting the federal regulatory requirements for sanitation performance standards and developing written Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans, and finalizes the establishments participating in the CIS program. The FSIS ongoing oversight includes verification that each CIS establishment continues to meet these and all other applicable federal requirements, such as submission, approval and use of FSIS approved labels under the same conditions as FSIS inspected establishments.

The CIS program was created by the 2008 Farm Bill. In addition to South Dakota, FSIS has signed agreements with Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Source : usda.gov

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