WV Commissioner of Ag Calls For Passage of New Markets for State Inspected Meat and Poultry Act

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt is calling for the passage of the New Markets for State Inspected Meat and Poultry Act to combat local meat shortages. Passage of such legislation would allow for meats processed in state inspected facilities to cross state lines. Commissioner Leonhardt sent a letter to West Virginia’s congressional delegation, as well as USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.

“Recent supply chain issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic have demonstrated the importance of small, state-inspected facilities. To secure our nation’s food supply, it’s time to allow interstate sales of state-inspected meat products to consumers nationwide,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt.

Currently, 27 states, including West Virginia, operate Meat & Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs. Products inspected by state MPI programs must meet “at-least-equal-to-FSIS” standards for products to be available for public consumption. Without approval from the USDA, products processed in state-inspected facilities are restricted for sale within the state of inspection. Processors across a state border cannot receive the product.

“This arbitrary regulation restricts the sale of these products to within state lines and should be abolished to increase local production nationwide. Small producers and consumers, as well as small processors would benefit from passage of the New Markets for State Inspected Meat and Poultry Act,” Leonhardt said. “As we rehash emergency response plans and work towards our nation’s economic recovery, regional agriculture development will play a crucial component.”

For more information, contact Crescent Gallagher at 304-380-3922 or cgallagher@wvda.us

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture protects plant, animal and human health through a variety of scientific, regulatory and consumer protection programs. The Commissioner of Agriculture is one of six statewide elected officials who sits on the Board of Public Works.