WASHINGTON D.C. – During Senate consideration of the 2008 Farm Bill, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) inserted an amendment that allows state-inspected meats to be transported across state lines on the condition there is federal oversight of the plants. Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) put this provision into practice, expanding market access for Ohio’s smaller meat and poultry producers.

Before today’s announcement, meat that was inspected by small-scale, state-licensed organizations could not be sold outside of Ohio. This ruling will allow meat and poultry from state-inspected plants to be sold in other states as long as they meet USDA standards.

“With one out of every seven jobs in Ohio tied to agriculture, this decision will allow for an economic expansion of Ohio’s rural communities while still guaranteeing the safety and quality of our food,” Brown said. “By expanding interstate shipments and allowing state food inspections, Ohio’s meat and poultry producers will have widened access to burgeoning markets and increased revenue, all while bolstering Ohio’s agricultural economy.”

The voluntary program permits state inspectors who meet federal food safety inspection standards, under the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act, to certify products produced in state-inspected facilities with an official USDA mark of inspection. 

As the first Ohioan in more than 40 years to serve on the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Brown is looking forward to working on behalf of Ohio’s agricultural community as the Senate considers the 2012 Farm Bill.  Sen. Sherrod Brown launched his ‘Grown in Ohio’ listening tour in Chesterland last week at the Patterson Fruit Farm. Sen. Brown will be holding a number of these listening sessions across Ohio in the coming months to get the input of Ohio farmers before the Senate considers the 2012 Farm Bill.  During the authorization of the 2008 Farm Bill, Brown helped secure six major provisions that will improve and reform the farm safety net, support rural communities, promote renewable energy, encourage healthy diets, and protect natural resources.

Brown has held more 170 roundtables throughout the state, and he is the first Ohioan to serve on both the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and the Senate Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee. Agriculture is still Ohio’s largest industry.