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HomeRegional NewsSecretary Naig Praises Iowa House Passage of Small-Scale Poultry Processing Legislation

Secretary Naig Praises Iowa House Passage of Small-Scale Poultry Processing Legislation

DES MOINES, Iowa (Feb. 26, 2024) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig released the following statement today following the Iowa House of Representatives’ passage of House File 2257, his legislation to expand small-scale poultry processing in Iowa:

“Iowa poultry producers, especially those who sell directly to consumers, have long struggled to find poultry processing options within Iowa and have instead had to travel to neighboring states for this service. This legislation, combined with our request to USDA for additional flexibility for states, can be a step toward fixing this problem. I want to thank the Iowa House for its overwhelming bipartisan support of my legislation, and I am hopeful that the Iowa Senate will take action soon to send this bill to Governor Reynolds for her signature.”

Background on companion legislation House File 2257 and Senate File 2207

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship performs meat and poultry inspections through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS). Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, red meat establishments are specifically allowed to perform both official and custom processing at the same facility through a provision that is commonly referred to as the Curtis Amendment. The Poultry Products Inspection Act, however, does not include such a provision, resulting in poultry processors having to choose between doing only official or only custom processing. There is no increased food safety risk associated with allowing the same facility to perform both activities.

If House File 2257 or its companion, Senate File 2207, is enacted, the Department’s Meat and Poultry Inspection Bureau could allow state poultry processing establishments to perform both official inspected and custom-exempt processing at the same facility. The change would not impact food safety and would treat poultry processing with the same standards already in place for establishments that perform red meat processing.

In addition to proposing and supporting House File 2257 and Senate File 2207, Secretary Naig will formally petition USDA-FSIS to ask them to reassess their interpretation of the federal law and grant states the flexibility to allow for additional poultry processing capacity. If this legislation is passed and signed into law, it would not go into effect until USDA specifically grants this additional flexibility to states.

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