The Executive Board approved a recommendation to support the New Markets for State Inspected Meat Act of 1999, introduced Nov 19, 1999 by Sen Thomas A. Daschle (D-SD) and 10 other senators. The bill is intended to reinforce a single safety standard for meat and poultry and allow for interstate shipment of state-inspected products.
If passed, the bill would amend the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act to:
- require state meat and poultry programs to enforce federal inspection requirements under new cooperative agreements,
- repeal current authority providing for state meat and poultry inspection programs to enforce requirements at least equal to federal requirements,
- require state-inspected meat and poultry to be marked with the official mark of federal inspection,
- allow for interstate shipments of state-inspected meat and poultry products, and
- provide the Secretary of Agriculture with the authority to reimburse up to 60 percent of a state's cost of meeting federal inspection requirements.
Dr. Niall B. Finnegan, director of the AVMA Governmental Relations Division, said the AVMA will keep a close eye on the issue. The bill is a high-priority item for lobbying efforts to effect passage.
Dr. Richard Swanson, AVMA immediate past president, said, "This bill is in concert with what all state veterinarians want in light of new food safety initiatives proposed. It improves food quality. I am truly in favor of this bill."
The council stated in its recommendation to the board that it believes the provisions of the bill will maintain food safety while potentially expanding the marketability of state-inspected meat and poultry.
The bill may be viewed online at www.fsis.usda.gov/OA/congress/S_1988.htm.