Proposed legislation would improve processing capacity

Recently introduced legislation would improve the nation’s meat processing capacity.  A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced the RAMP UP Act last week which would authorize federal grants up to $100,000 for existing meat processors to become federally inspected. 

The bill would bolster market access for cattle producers and help keep store shelves across the country stocked.  It was introduced in response to food supply chain disruptions that were caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently, state inspected and custom exempt processors cannot sell meat in interstate commerce.  The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says the process of becoming compliant with, and inspected by, the Food Safety and Inspection Service is expensive and daunting. 

The Requiring Assistance to Meat Processors for Upgrading Plants (RAMP UP) Act was introduced by House Ag Committee Chairman Colin Peterson (D-MN), Representatives Frank Lucas (R-OK), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Sandford Bishop (D-GA), David Rouzer (R-NC), Jim Costa (D-CA), Robert Aderholt (R-AL), and Angie Craig (D-MN). 

The DIRECT Act of 2020 was also introduced recently in the House that would amend the retail exemptions and allow meat processed under state-inspected facilities to be sold across state lines through e-commerce.

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