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Should State Meat Inspection Qualify Products for Interstate Trade?

	The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is soliciting comments
on ways it can improve Federal and State cooperation in the
implementation of the Federal meat and poultry inspection laws, and on
whether and if so how, those laws should be amended to permit meat and
poultry products inspected by State inspection programs to be
distributed in interstate commerce.  State inspection programs are
authorized under the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry
Products Inspection Act to inspect meat and poultry establishments that
prepare products intended for use as human food solely for distribution
within the State under requirements "at least equal to" those imposed
under Federal inspection.	

	This topic is extremely relevant to the sustainable
agriculture/food systems/ community development communities in that it
addresses concentration in the meat packing industry, food quality and
food availability in rural areas, and small business opportunities in
rural areas, especially those adjacent to urban markets. </bold> State
inspected meat processors are not currently allowed to sell their meat
out-of-state, so a small meat locker in Hudson, WI could not sell to
retail outlets in St. Paul.  Small meat lockers contribute to the local
economy, serve local farmers in processing their animals, and may offer
consumers higher quality products (specialty sausages, bone-in-ham,
etc.) than can their industrial counterparts.  When small lockers go
out of business, farmers must ship their animals (at their own expense)
to large meat packing plants, or they feel driven to support the
construction of these plants in their local communities.  If
family-scale farmers are to raise animals for meat (and the nutrient
cycling they provide), and if rural communities want to avoid the
problems associated with factory-style meat processing and production,
these farmers and their communities must have access to local meat
processors, and the processors need access to near-by markets, whether
in-state or out-of-state.

	A meeting was held on June 16 -17, 1997 in Sioux Fall, SD and another
will be held in Washington D.C. On July 22, 1997.  The July 22 meeting
will be held from 9am-5pm in the Ticonderoga Room of the Hyatt Regency
Washington on Capitol Hill, 400 New Jersey Avenue, NW.  Please register
to attend with Ms. Traci Phebus at 202/501-7138, by fax to
202/501-7642, or by email at HACCP.Confer@USDA.GOV Participants may
reserve a five minute comment period when they register, although more
time may be available depending on the number people commenting.   For
questions about the meeting, contact Mr. Ralph Stafko at 202/720-7774.

	Written information and comments will be accepted and made a part of
these records through August 22, 1997.

People and organizations wishing to submit written comments should
send an original and two copies to the FSIS Docket Clerk, Docket No.
97-0F37N, Room 102 Annex Building, 300 12th Street SW, Food Safety and
Inspection Service, USDA, Washington, DC 20250-3700 

	For further information see the Federal Register, Vol. 62, No. 11,
Tuesday June 10, 1997 under Notices on page 31562.

Michelle Miller


1575 Linden Drive

Madison,WI  53706


FAX  262-5217


Home Office 608/255-1503

Home Fax     608/255-5885