An Interstate Issue

The debate over the now hotly-contested interstate shipment of state inspected meat continues. Catching up if you haven't tuned into this debate yet, the House version of the 2007 Farm Bill included a provision to make allowances for state inspected meat that met or exceeded federal inspection standards to be shipped across state lines. The measure is intended to help open new markets to small and mid-size livestock producers. Follow the links above to see the debate that has erupted over the provision.

Now from the populist state of North Dakota:

JOHNSON DEMANDS RETRACTION OF MISLEADING AD

BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson says a radio advertisement attacking state meat inspection programs is “false and misleading” and should be taken off the air immediately.

Your radio ad contains several direct and implied falsehoods regarding state meat and poultry inspection programs,” Johnson said in a letter to John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). “Your attempts to raise doubts about food safety are a slap in the face to state inspected meat processors and a disservice to American consumers.”

Johnson said the content of the ad resembled a print ad, sponsored by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) appearing last week in USA Today. He said he wrote the CFA about the ad and sent a copy to Gage. “It is my understanding that the following day the ad was pulled,” Johnson said.

My favorite Johnson quote included in the longer article is “State inspectors . . . are responsible for enforcing the same standards as federal inspectors. In addition, pound for pound, state products receive more ‘hands on’ inspection than federal products do.”

Commissioner Johnson is the president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

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