WASHINGTON – In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on June 9, Representatives Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) asked the agency to lessen regulations on small meat processors.

“The high cost of complying with meat processing laws has made it hard for smaller processors to compete and has led to significant consolidation in the industry,” the letter said. “Processors undergo either federal or state inspection for compliance with relevant standards. Generally, only meat from federally inspected processors can be sold across state line.”

The letter laid out several areas for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reexamine.

First, the Congress members said Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans should give smaller meat processors more flexibility to comply with regulations, including during rapid production changes.

Next, they encouraged the USDA to find a more streamlined method of meat label submissions and approval. 

Jordan and Armstrong also said they wanted an expansion of the USDA’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) Program so state inspectors can approve meat to be sold outside of the state it is processed. The letter said only seven states currently participate in the CIS program. 

Finally, the letter asked the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to find a way to allow for more flexibility and decrease expenses for smaller processors that need overtime inspection.