NCBA Welcomes House Introduction of Bipartisan DIRECT Act

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association hailed the introduction of bipartisan legislation to create new opportunities for cattle producers and processors to market beef products. The Direct Interstate Retail Exemption for Certain Transactions, or DIRECT Act of 2021, would allow retail quantities of meat processed under state-inspection to be sold across state lines through e-commerce. NCBA Policy Division Chair Todd Wilkinson says, “The DIRECT Act will allow cattle producers and smaller beef processors to more easily evolve to meet the growing demand for e-commerce sales.”

Many states currently have inspection programs approved by the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service as “at least equal to” federal standards. However, state-inspected products can only be sold interstate if approved to do so under the Cooperative Interstate Shipping Program.

The DIRECT Act would amend the retail exemption to allow processors, butchers, or other retailers to sell normal retail quantities of State Inspected Meat online to consumers across state lines.