Alexander, Angus King, beef, California, Custom butcher, custom slaughterhouse, custom-slaughtered mean, ditch, farm bill, federal oversight, food inspection, goat, grocery stores, Halal food, Halal slaughter, hotels, Kentucky, lamb, Maine, Meat inspection, Mississippi, oversight, pork, Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption Act, restaurants, slaughterhouse, slaughterhouse inspection, state inspection, state oversight, Tennessee, The Jungle, Upton Sinclair, USDA, USDA inspection
A legal case from the late 1990s sheds light upon the importance of meat inspection: “In 1983, he moved from California to Mississippi where he continued this practice on his mother’s twenty-three acre property at Silver Creek. Muhammad slaughters the animals in an open field. He disposes of the pieces he does not use in a ditch after letting the cats and other animals eat their share.” (Spell v. Muhammad, 1997)
Even if you don’t eat meat, lack of oversight/oversight failures can impact you, as demonstrated in this case from the 1990s. This case illustrates the sort of thing which can become more frequent with reduced state and federal oversight-inspections, or without federal and state oversight-inspections.
This reduction in inspection agenda is being pushed by Rand Paul who appears closer to Putin than Trump.
Members of Congress signed up for the PRIME Act. Some Democrats have signed onto the House version. It should be called eat at your own risk, act: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2657/cosponsors https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1232/cosponsors
More excerpts from Spell v. Muhammed:
“¶ 5. Muhammad testified that he had been slaughtering sheep, goats and cows in accordance with Islamic religious law since 1975. In 1983, he moved from California to Mississippi where he continued this practice on his mother’s twenty-three acre property at Silver Creek. Muhammad slaughters the animals in an open field. He disposes of the pieces he does not use in a ditch after letting the cats and other animals eat their share.
¶ 16. Preston Lee is a regulatory service supervisor with the USDA. He and a compliance officer went to Muhammad’s property to investigate complaints of illegal slaughter in January, 1996. Three carcasses were hanging out in the open….
¶ 2. The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, through its Commissioner, (“Department”), filed a complaint in the Chancery Court of Lawrence County on May 2, 1997, to enjoin Suni Muhammad from slaughtering animals in violation of the Mississippi Statutes and Meat Inspection Regulations. The Department alleged that Muhammad was “slaughtering, skinning, butchering, and processing cattle, goats, sheep and chickens in an open field in complete disregard of the most basic rules of cleanliness and sanitation” as well as selling the meat directly to consumers…” Excerpted from “SPELL v. MUHAMMAD, Lester SPELL, Jr., D.V.M., Commissioner of the Mississippi Department Of Agriculture and Commerce v. Suni MUHAMMAD a/k/a D.W. Webster. No. 97-CA-01515-SCT, January 20, 2000“. http://web.archive.org/web/20110111112702/https://caselaw.findlaw.com/ms-supreme-court/1441230.html
Chances are that the ditch was a drainage ditch and on county property. Or, it may be a local creek.
“What exactly does the halal method of animal slaughter involve?, by James Meikle Thu 8 May 2014 21.55 BST https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/may/08/what-does-halal-method-animal-slaughter-involve
As can be seen, Rand Paul’s statement is somewhat misleading in the real world: “The PRIME Act will make it easier for farmers to sell and consumers to buy locally produced meat,” said Senator Paul.”
It’s strange that health insurance companies don’t work hard to oppose things like this, as well as toxins in the environment, which reduce their profits.
The benefit of multiple layers of government should be multiple layers of oversight to guard against failures in oversight. Instead, these Republicans, and de facto Republicans, want to reduce oversight to nothingness, or almost nothingness.
Many states are cash-strapped and rural counties have law enforcement shortages. Through word of mouth/community networking, certain immigrants apparently figure this out faster than Americans. Lack of law enforcement has moved the drug dealers to rural areas, as well.
The biweekly state inspection, of a halal butcher, described in the legal case (Spell v. Muhammad), appears to be below the federal standard, as described here in the USDA brochure: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/e6658a9c-915f-4283-beaf-a827b35e906a/Fed-Food-Inspect-Requirements.pdf The legal case says: “¶ 14. Abdul Latif Taj is Muslim and has a master’s degree in Islamic studies. He owns a meat plant in Bassfield called Musbax Taj Halal Meat Plant. His plant slaughters goats, sheep and cows and sells them to Muslims. The State Department of Agriculture inspects his plant twice a week.” Does he only slaughter animals twice a week? The USDA brochure states that inspectors must be present at all times: “Federal inspection personnel must be present at all times during livestock slaughter operations and for at least part of each shift during which there is further processing of meat products. In slaughter plants, inspection personnel verify the humane handling of animals and conduct ante-mortem inspection to ensure that the live animal is fit for slaughter. These inspection personnel also conduct post-mortem inspection to ensure that the meat from the carcass and internal organs are fit for human food“.
This article gives the real low-down on the problem, including the impact on the animals themselves –
“Custom-exempt slaughter should not be expanded” By Dena Jones on January 15, 2016: “The “exempt” in custom-exempt means a slaughter operation is excused from continuous inspection, unlike federal- and state-inspected slaughter, where government officials must be on the premises of the establishment whenever slaughter is being conducted…. While custom-exempt operations are expected to comply with the federal humane slaughter law, no inspectors are present to ensure that they do so.” Read the article here: http://web.archive.org/web/20170911003958/https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/01/custom-exempt-slaughter-should-not-be-expanded (The article explains some of the politics behind it, as well.)
Related-linked to in the article: https://awionline.org/sites/default/files/uploads/documents/FA-AWI-Brooksville-complaint.pdf
“Since 1967, when Congress passed the Wholesome Meat Act, producers have been required to use a USDA-inspection facility for processing if they wish to sell meat directly to consumers, restaurants, and grocery stores. A custom meat processing facility can be utilized only when meat is for personal, household, guest, or employee use (there are separate laws for poultry)… Opponents of PRIME argue that the bill would allow for the sale of meat without adherence to standard food safety regulations…. avoiding federal inspection requirements.” http://web.archive.org/web/20170810091847/http://agrisk.umd.edu/blog/the-processing-revival-and-intrastate-meat-exemption-act-prime-making-meat-more-affordable
Current “§623. Exemptions from inspection requirements
(a) Personal slaughtering and custom slaughtering for personal, household, guest, and employee uses…” https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/USCODE-2014-title21/html/USCODE-2014-title21-chap12-subchapI-sec623.htm So your employer can give you uninspected meat already?
This isn’t “eat local”, this is eat at your own risk.
Maine only has 1.3 million people. Note that in Maine there are already 12 custom exempt sites; 8 State inspected sites; and 5 USDA inspected sites: https://www.maine.gov/dacf/qar/inspection_programs/documents/meatplantsrev08.pdf
News release from “Independent” Senator Angus King of Maine and Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky:
“May 23, 2019
King, Paul Push to Support “Eat Local” Movement
PRIME Act Cuts Streamlines Regulations to Support Meat Processors
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have introduced legislation that would make it easier for small farms and ranches to provide locally-produced meats to consumers. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) has also joined as an original cosponsor. The Processing Revival and Instrastate Meat Exemption Act, (PRIME Act) would give individual states the option to permit intrastate distribution of custom-slaughtered meat such as beef, pork, goat or lamb to consumers, restaurants, hotels, boarding houses, and grocery stores. Senators King and Paul introduced this legislation both in the 114th and 115th Congresses.
“All across Maine, local farmers are creating superior agricultural products – but when they try to sell these products within their communities, they face burdensome regulations that make things far too complicated,” said Senator King. “A Maine farmer shouldn’t have to send his or her animals halfway across the state for processing just so they can sell the product to a neighbor. Let’s cut through this red tape, so our local farmers don’t have to jump through any extra hoops.”
“The PRIME Act will make it easier for farmers to sell and consumers to buy locally produced meat,” said Senator Paul.
“This legislation will make it easier for Tennessee farmers to sell and consumers to buy locally produced meat,” said Senator Alexander. “Unfortunately, many states, including Tennessee, do not have enough USDA-approved processing facilities to meet demand, forcing farmers and ranchers to transport their animals long distances which raises costs.”
Across the nation, farmers and ranchers are seeing a growing demand for meat that has been raised and processed locally. Under current law, farmers and ranchers must have their animals processed at a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified facility to sell their product commercially. However, many states – including Maine – have a limited amount of USDA-approved processing facilities, which are often at capacity due to farmers and ranchers of all sizes and types racing to get their animals processed and off to market. That makes it expensive and time-consuming for farmers to transport their animals, sometimes 100 miles or more back and forth across the state or even out of state, when they intend to sell the meat to their neighbors.
According to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, there are five USDA-inspected and eight state-inspected meat processors in Maine. ThePRIME Act would provide states with the option to part from the federal standard, and utilize local meat inspection sites to make it easier for farmers and ranchers to sell their product in-state. Doing so would help relieve the significant shortage of processing capacity and allow small farms, ranches, and slaughterhouses to thrive. This will give individual states the option to make it easier for farmers to supply their product to farmers markets, restaurants or grocery store in their own state – and give consumers access to farm-fresh product.
Senator King has been a strong advocate for Maine farmers by helping to assist them to widen their markets. In May, Senator King joined a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing the Agricultural Export Expansion Act of 2019, legislation to remove a major hurdle for American farmers and ranchers aiming to sell American agricultural products in the Cuban market. The bipartisan bill would support jobs throughout the country by lifting restrictions on private financing for U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba.
In June 2018, the Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill with a number of King-backed provisions to support innovation and create new opportunities for the Maine’s agricultural communities, including a modernization of rural broadband programs, permanent funding to educate and train beginning farmers and ranchers, and continuing support for important Maine products like dairy, blueberries and potatoes. Senator King has also introduced the CREAATE Act, which would expand export opportunities for agricultural producers by revitalizing the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program; both of these programs aim to increase American agricultural exports, and generate a net return of $28.30 for every dollar invested“. https://archive.li/https://www.king.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/king-paul-push-to-support-eat-local-movement