Livestock Officials Want to Change Meat Shipment Rules
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 02/28/2005
A group of Wisconsin meat industry experts are working to change federal regulations that
restricts products inspected by state meat inspectors from being sold across state borders. Last
week, the Grow Wisconsin Livestock Initiative Panel passed a resolution asking Congress to
revisit the current regulations that allow only federally inspected meat products to move across
The panel says this would benefit not only the state's 294 state-inspected meat and poultry
processing plants, but the rural communities they serve as well.
"The current law impedes economic growth," said Rick Klemme, associate dean of the College of
Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin.
"It comes down to a matter of fairness," said Jim Peterson, a director of the Wisconsin
Association of Meat Processors. "Meat can come from all over the world into our plants, but a
state-inspected product, inspected under 'equal to' status, cannot cross the state's borders. It
would be such a big help for the rural economies from the farmer to the car dealer, if state-
inspected meat products could go interstate."
Many of the state's award-winning, family-owned meat businesses say they have to turn down
out-of-state business generated by their Web sites.
"The law needs to reflect the realities of the marketplace," said Dave VanHemelryk of Maplewood
Meats in Green Bay. "It's just frustrating that we can't ship to customers outside the state." Last
year the company won two awards in international competition for its specialty meats.
The rigors of state inspection not only meet, but often exceed, federal standards, according to
Steve Steinhoff, administrator of Food Safety for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture.
In other business, the Grow Wisconsin Livestock Initiative Panel endorsed Governor Doyle's plan
to provide a $50,000 dairy investment tax credit to livestock producers and fish farmers seeking
to modernize and expand their operations.