The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) made available this week an advance copy of the final rule for interstate shipments of state-inspected meat and poultry products. The rule establishes a new voluntary cooperative program under which state-inspected establishments with 25 or fewer employees will be eligible to ship meat and poultry products in interstate commerce.  The rule will go into effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Under the program, participating establishments will have to comply with all federal standards under the Meat and Poultry Inspection Act.  In addition, state inspection personnel in those establishments will have to be trained in the requirements of the Act.  The program only applies to participating states, and then only to selected establishments in those states.  Meat and poultry products produced under this program will be allowed to bear the official federal mark of inspection and will be permitted to be distributed in interstate commerce.

The advance copy of the final rule is available at