Focus on Food: Legislation That Would Change Meat Processing



Food safety is a critical concern in the United States and meat processing plays a major role in this endeavor. The processing of livestock- which includes animals such as cattle, sheep, swine, and goats- is governed on a national level by the Federal Meat Inspection Act.  Similarly, the processing of poultry, including chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese is governed by the Poultry Products Inspection Act.  In those laws, USDA-FSIS is given primary authority for oversight of meat products that will be offered for sale.  Food safety and animal welfare are important areas within this authority.  That authority, however, may be designated to a state agency in those states that chose to apply for such authority, as long as the state requirements are “at least equal to” those enforced by USDA-FSIS.  As a result, state meat inspection programs, in those states that have implemented them, add another layer of laws and regulations to meat slaughter and processing requirements.

This webinar, while providing an outline of the current regulatory structure, will primarily focus on the federal and state policy proposals that would change the requirements, standards and oversight of slaughter and processing facilities.  Specifically, it will discuss

  • The general outline of authority for slaughter and processing of meat and poultry
  • The effective differences between state and federal processing oversight, including custom exempt slaughter
  • Proposed federal and state legislation that might change processing requirements in the United States


Time and Date:


 Wednesday, April 7, 2021

12:00 – 1:00 (EST)

11:00 – 12:00 (CST)


This webinar was recorded on April 7, 2021. To view a recording of this webinar, click here.


Elizabeth Rumley is a senior staff attorney at the National Agricultural Law Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. At the Center, her primary research and scholarship focus is on legal issues in animal agriculture, and she frequently lectures on those issues and others to audiences nationwide. She has developed and is teaching a graduate/undergraduate level course on legal issues in animal agriculture at the University of Arkansas.  Additionally, she teaches a course on Environmental Law in the Bumpers College.  Further, she has co-taught a course covering “Animals and Agricultural Production, Law and Policy” at the University of Nebraska College of Law and the University of Oklahoma College of Law.  She is licensed to practice law in Michigan, Ohio, and Oklahoma after earning her B.A. from Michigan State University, her J.D. cum laude from the University of Toledo College of Law, and her LL.M. in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law.

Research & Materials:

Presentation Slides

Letter from FSIS to State Meat and Poultry Program Directors

Meat Processing Laws: A State Compilation

Slaughter and Processing in the United States: Oversight and Requirements (Webinar Recording, Rumley & Rumley)

Digesting the FSMA Animal Food Rule (Webinar Recording, Dillard)