Merrigan says mobile slaughter units have a role

Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Kathleen Merrigan says that as part of their “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, USDA believes Mobile Slaughter Units will serve a role in building local and regional food systems and keeping dollars in local communities, but it’s not as easy as it may seem.

“You have to have strict food safety standards, in the case of red meat if you’re doing interstate commerce you to be FSIS inspected, you need to get the machinery in place,” said the Deputy Ag Secretary. “There’s not a lot of people who have done it yet, so I don’t expect come a year from now they’ll be populating the countryside, but it is something I’d like to encourage.”

Merrigan had an opportunity to see a Mobile Slaughter Unit while in California last week, following the visit the Deputy Secretary told Brownfield that while she heard a lot of positive things, she also heard about some problems.

“That FSIS rules pertaining to Mobile Slaughter Units are not clear and because of that Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has been working on a compliance guide specifically for Mobile Slaughter Units and that should come out within the next couple of weeks,” Merrigan said.

AUDIO: Deputy Sec. Kathleen Merrigan (4:35 MP3)

  • This is great news. It is nice to see that people with power understand the challenges ranchers and small farmers face. More processing plants whether mobile or not are needed to great a vibrant local food economy in the United States.

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