Wyttenbach Meats, LLC in Prairie du Sac, is the first state-inspected meat processing plant to start shipping products to out-of-state markets, announced Gov. Scott Walker in a press release on Monday, June 17.
"Wisconsin's participation in the Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program is another step toward eliminating barriers for small business growth," Gov. Walker said. "This agreement will enable Wisconsin's many high-quality meat processors to expand their customer bases and get their products to new markets while continuing a well-established state-industry partnership for food safety, without making expensive changes to their facilities."
Qualifying meat processors, such as Wyttenbach Meats, LLC, are now allowed to ship across state lines under a new agreement between the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's (DATCP) Division of Food Safety and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Wisconsin is one of three states in the nation to sign a cooperative agreement under new USDA rules that were finalized in 2011.
Under the agreement, the DATCP Division of Food Safety has authority to inspect meat products produced in these selected establishments using regulatory oversight and sampling programs that are the same as those in the federal inspection program.
"Until now, if you were inspected by DATCP meat safety inspectors and not the USDA, your product could only be sold in Wisconsin," DATCP Secy. Ben Brancel stated. "But now, after meeting USDA-DATCP guidelines and making minor changes in the production and labeling process, certain state-inspected businesses will be permitted to distribute their products out-of-state without being inspected by the USDA."
Wisconsin's meat inspection program, established in 1968, has equaled the standards of the federal program for the past 44 years. Wisconsin currently has 272 state-inspected meat plants and many have expressed interest in the interstate meat shipment program. Several plants have already started the pre-inspection, label-changing process.
State-inspected establishments wishing to apply for entry into the new program should contact Arthur Ness, DATCP Bureau of Meat Safety and Inspection, at 608-224-4715 to begin the process.
For more information about interstate shipment of meat products, visit datcp.wi.gov/food.