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New GAO Report – USDA’s Implementation of New State-Delegated Meat Inspection Program Needs Additional Action

Agriculture and Food: USDA’s Implementation of New State-Delegated Meat Inspection Program Addresses Most Key Farm Bill Requirements, but Additional Action Needed, GAO-13-332R, May 30, 2013: “USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) completed most of the key activities outlined in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill), which authorized a new meat and poultry inspection program to support interstate shipment of meat and poultry products from establishments with 25 or fewer employees, inspected by state agencies. Specifically, FSIS issued program regulations in May 2011 for the new inspection program, called the Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) program, and it provided additional guidance in October 2011 instructing states on what they needed to demonstrate to be approved for the CIS program. As of January 31, 2013, three states—Ohio, North Dakota, and Wisconsin—and eight establishments in two of those states had been selected to participate in the program. However, although FSIS established a technical assistance division, that division has not coordinated with other USDA agencies on initiatives to provide outreach, education, and training to establishments and grants to states for those initiatives and also for technical assistance to small establishments,as required by the 2008 Farm Bill.”

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