Rounds Urges Inclusion of New Markets for State-Inspected Meat and Poultry Act in COVID-19 Relief Legislation
WASHINGTON -U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today urged the Senate to include his legislation, the New Markets for State-Inspected Meat and Poultry Act, in any future COVID-19 relief legislation. The bipartisan, bicameral bill would allow meat and poultry products inspected by state Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs to be sold across state lines.
Excerpts of Rounds' Remarks:
'Like so many sectors of our economy, the food production industry was ill-prepared for the unprecedented changes needed to be made when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Labor shortages and worker protection measures slowed down plants around the country and outbreaks even caused some facilities to shut down entirely.'
'While we work to get meat and pork processing facilities back up and running at capacity, we should also be utilizing state-based solutions to help offset the backlog and provide additional capacity. Specifically, we should include the New Markets for State-Inspected Meat and Poultry Act in the next relief package.'
'At a time when our food supply is in danger, this is an easy first step.'
Full Remarks as Prepared for Delivery:
I rise today to urge the Senate to include the New Markets for State-Inspected Meat and Poultry Act in the COVID-19 response legislation we are considering during this work period.
This is legislation I have worked on with my colleague, Senator Angus King of Maine, for several years, long before COVID-19 disrupted the safety and security of the American food supply.
COVID-19 revealed the cracks in multiple industries - our food supply, pharmaceuticals, defense and manufacturing in general.
Every American pays the price for foreign reliance. Every American.
And, this is a moment in history, when we can rebuild what made America great in the first place.
That, of course, is American production and innovation across all industries. As consumers, we should demand it.
Heavy reliance on foreign production and manufacturing is a mistake and America needs to see a renaissance in American production and ingenuity.
For example, on July 29, 2020, it was announced that JBS, a Brazilian owned company, intends to acquire the Mountain States Rosen Lamb Plant in Greeley, Colorado.
It has been reported that JBS will grind hamburger and cut steaks, which would eliminate the ability to process 350,000 lambs in the United States.
This is yet another example of a foreign company working to consolidate and integrate the American food supply system to the detriment of U.S. ag producers.
We can't sit here and watch this occur on our watch.
We're already paying the price for foreign ownership in our food supply system.
The time is now to aggressively pursue American options for production and processing - in order to protect American consumers and our entire economy.
Right now, we are actually giving an unfair and unnecessary advantage to the large, sometimes foreign-owned meat processing facilities.
Large facilities typically pursue licensing through the USDA federal Meat Inspection process...