Bill Would Reduce Meat Inspections

WASHINGTON — As one of the largest meat recalls in history unfolds, Congress is considering legislation that would reduce required federal inspections for meat that is produced by small companies and then shipped to another state.
calendar icon 2 October 2007
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Because of a little-noticed legislative change buried deep within the 2007 farm bill approved in July by the House, only state inspections would be required for some meat products.

The measure was planted in the farm bill by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), according to congressional staffers familiar with the bill. It would be a boon to small meat processing companies whose products must remain in the state of origin because they lack a federal inspection stamp.

Consumer advocates and a federal meat inspectors union oppose the measure, which is now under consideration in the Senate. They say that state inspection standards vary widely and that the federal inspection requirement ensures food safety.

Under current law, the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspects and regulates the interstate sale of beef and poultry. Inspectors are present in many large and medium meat plants. Some states also regulate meat production, but only for products that stay within that state's jurisdiction.

Source: ChicagoTribune

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