SUBLETTE COUNTY – On Sept. 14, Rep. Liz Cheney introduced updated legislation to allow state-inspected meat, carcasses and food products to be sold across state lines, after introducing a slightly different version in March.
The new bill, Expanding Markets for State-Inspected Meat Processors Act of 2021, calls for amendment of the Federal Meat Inspection Act “to allow the interstate sale of state-inspected meat, and for other purposes.”
The bill calls for meat-processors to label products with an official ID number that identifies the state and the facility. It would replace language prohibiting the movement of state-inspected meats to allowing it for distribution.
Cheney said, “As I've emphasized previously, this bill is important because we have to be doing everything in our power to allow ranchers and livestock producers to get their product to the open marketplace. Not only will this legislation help these producers move additional product and boost their bottom line, but it will increase the supply for consumers, leading to more reasonable costs and helping the economy as a whole while ensuring the meat going to market is safe.”
Support for her legislation came with this announcement: “As with the bill introduced earlier this year, this legislation has the support of Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, The Wyoming Stock Growers Association, The Wyoming Farm Bureau, R-CALF USA and the United States Cattleman's Association.
Cheney’s earlier bill was titled H.R. 1998, The Expanding Markets for State-Inspected Meat Processors Act of 2021, and intended to alleviate the economic effects of COVID-19 when processing plants and others stricken by the pandemic failed to keep up with supply and demand.
Current law prevents state inspected meat from being sold outside of a state.
At this time, 27 states including Wyoming have inspection programs certified by the Food Safety Inspection Service that meet or exceed federal inspection standards. However, current laws do not allow the products from FSIS-approved, state MPI-inspected facilities to cross state lines.