Wallaces Farmer

Local lockers can expand markets for Iowa meat

First Iowa meat processor is approved for Cooperative Interstate Shipment program.

July 14, 2020

3 Min Read
Beef cattle in pasture
NEW MARKETS: Small meat lockers in Iowa can now be approved to sell meat across state lines. Farm Progress

The Iowa Department of Agriculture announced July 9 that Story City Locker LLC is the first Iowa meat processing facility to be admitted into USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment program. Under CIS, smaller, state-inspected facilities can remain under state inspection but are allowed to apply a federal-style mark of inspection and sell products across state lines.

Members of the Iowa Meat Processors Association approached the Iowa Department of Agriculture in 2019 about implementing the CIS program to help small meat processing facilities, like Story City Locker, grow their businesses. The program also helps producers get their products stocked on regional grocery store shelves.

“Local meat lockers play an important role in their communities and the food supply chain,” says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “We pursued the CIS program to help small Iowa businesses grow and give consumers more access to Iowa-grown meat and poultry products.”

More market access for Iowa meat

“This is a great program for Iowa's small meat processors and their communities. We are proud to be the first facility to go live,” says Ty Gustafson, owner of the Story City Locker. “Special thanks to the Meat and Poultry Bureau team at the Iowa Department of Ag for being willing to take this on to expand opportunities for small businesses. A great example of regulatory staff working with businesses to find a solution.”

The state ag department worked with the Iowa Meat Processors Association and USDA FSIS for almost a year to ensure the state met all the CIS program requirements. The Iowa Department of Ag made administrative rule changes, invested in new equipment and provided additional training for its Meat and Poultry Bureau inspectors to ensure Iowa producers had the opportunity to expand into new markets.

Iowa is the seventh state to enter an agreement with USDA to participate in the CIS program. Those lockers that enter the agreement will still have periodic visits from federal inspectors.

About CIS program

Naig signed the CIS agreement with USDA FSIS on May 20. To qualify for the CIS program, a meat processor must have fewer than 25 full-time employees and comply with all federal food safety, sanitation and facility regulations.

There are 68 meat processing facilities in the state of Iowa that are eligible for the CIS program. To date, 14 meat processing facilities have applied for the CIS program and three have been selected, including the Story City Locker, Al’s Country Meat Locker and Ohrt’s Smokehouse. Individual livestock producers cannot apply, but they can sell their products across state lines if the meat and poultry are 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. State meat 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 FSIS officials to ensure they are operating in compliance with federal guidelines. Eligible processors can apply for admission to the CIS program at iowaagriculture.gov. At the site is also a complete listing of meat and poultry processors in the state of Iowa.

Source: ISU, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.



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