Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig finalized a Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) agreement with the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today. This agreement means state-inspected meat and poultry processors in Iowa are one step closer to being able to sell their products across state lines, according to a release from the Secretary. Processors can apply for admission to the CIS program now.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the important role that local community meat lockers play in the food supply chain,” said Secretary Naig, in the release. “I am excited for these meat processors to have the opportunity to grow their businesses, move more products and access new markets. It also gives consumers more access to Iowa-raised and processed meat.”
Though state-inspected meat processors are smaller than their federally-inspected counterparts they are held to equal standards, the release notes. Processors must have fewer than 25 full-time employees and comply with all federal food safety, sanitation and facility regulations to be eligible to qualify for the CIS program. The program isn’t available for individual livestock producers, but they can sell their meat and poultry products across state lines if it has been processed at a CIS facility.
State of Iowa meat inspectors visit state-inspected facilities every day they process products that bear the mark of inspection. The inspectors examine the livestock, quality of the meat, facility sanitation and record-keeping so consumers can have confidence in the meat and poultry products they buy. CIS facilities will also receive periodic visits from USDA FSIS officials to ensure they are operating in compliance with federal guidelines, the release says.
Iowa is the seventh state to enter into a CIS agreement with the USDA FSIS. Meat processors that are interested in applying for the CIS program should visit iowaagriculture.gov or call 515-281-3338.
A complete list of approved CIS establishments is available on the USDA FSIS website. Iowa plants will be added to this list as they apply and are accepted into the CIS program.