WASHINGTON – State inspected meat processors in Montana can ship their products throughout the United States. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the state of Montana finalized a Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) agreement which allows selected state-inspected processing facilities that comply with federal inspection requirements to ship product in interstate commerce.

With the addition of Montana, 10 states now participate in the program, according to USDA. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of USDA has signed agreements with Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin.

“This announcement is part of USDA’s commitment to build more and better markets, a more resilient supply chain and better food system, and to increase competition in agricultural markets across America,” said Sandra Eskin, USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Food Safety. “USDA is working with states to ensure they have the tools and resources necessary to expand existing capacity and thrive for many decades to come. 

“The Cooperative Interstate Shipment program provides an excellent opportunity for small meat and poultry processors to build their local and regional marketplaces, while ensuring the safety of the meat and poultry products they produce,” she said.

To qualify for the program, state meat and poultry inspection (MPI) programs must meet a number of criteria to demonstrate that the inspection provided to state-inspected plants will be the “same as” the inspection that FSIS provides to official federal establishments, the agency said. FSIS provides ongoing oversight of the CIS program to ensure that participating states maintain and operate their inspection programs in a manner that complies with all applicable federal statutes and regulations and follows FSIS directives and notices. FSIS reimburses the states for 60% of their costs associated with providing this interstate eligible inspection service.