Washington, D.C. – This morning, Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) introduced legislation to update a bill she introduced this past March that would allow state-inspected meat to be sold across state lines. 

The new language, which can be read here, ensures that all products have an identification number and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is able to access that information to ensure product traceability. Upon introduction of this updated legislation, Rep. Cheney issued the following statement:

“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. I will always look for areas where we can cut unnecessary government red-tape and empower the free market to do what it does best, which is generate capital and open more doors for those in the private sector.” -Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) 

In addition to this updated version and the legislation that Rep. Cheney introduced earlier this year, she also introduced a similar bill in 2020 during the 116th Congress. As with the bill introduced earlier this year, this legislation has the support of Wyoming Governor 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. Supportive quotes from these individuals and groups can be seen below: 

“Representative Cheney’s bill would finally acknowledge equity of Wyoming’s state inspection program and federal inspection requirements. Passage of this act would allow our hardworking state inspectors and the Department of Agriculture to better serve our producers and help Wyoming export high-quality products to additional markets. I fully support this concept and appreciate Representative Cheney’s efforts.”-Governor Mark Gordon

“The Wyoming Department of Agriculture, along with many of our counterparts across the nation work very hard to ensure that State Meat Inspection programs achieve status that is ‘equal to’ federal inspection. Passing of this legislation would allow the Wyoming Department of Agriculture to better serve our industry and would allow more opportunities for our ranchers.” -Doug Miyamoto, Director, Wyoming Department of Agriculture

“The Wyoming Stock Growers Association thanks Congresswoman Cheney for introducing legislation allowing for interstate sales of state-inspected meat.  Wyoming, until recently, had no federally inspected processing facilities, putting our livestock producers at a clear disadvantage in being unable to process their beef in-state to meet consumer demand in neighboring states and beyond.  This discrimination against state-processed meat has no basis in food safety as our state inspection program is federally approved by the FSIS and must meet all of the same standards as  federal inspection.  The introduction of this bill culminates several years of effort by our organization and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture to secure equitable treatment for our state program.”-Jim Magagna, Executive Vice President, Wyoming Stock Growers Association

“Wyoming Farm Bureau supports allowing State inspected facilities to sell their products more broadly. Our members support the Food Freedom movement and the marketing of agricultural products directly to consumers, this is a great step towards that. A step that benefits local businesses, consumers and family farmers and ranchers simultaneously.”-The Wyoming Farm Bureau

BACKGROUND:

The Expanding Markets for State-Inspected Meat Processors Act of 2021, is legislation to allow meat products inspected by state Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs to be sold across state lines.

Current law prevents state inspected meat from being sold out-of-state. Presently, there are 27 states with inspection programs, Wyoming included, certified by the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), which meet or exceed federal inspection standards. However, products processed at these FSIS approved state MPI inspected facilities are not currently allowed to be sold across state lines.