Thursday, February 8, 2018

Montana complains meat inspection too tough

Ontario’s small and independent meat packers often complain that they are required to meet inspection standards that are too expensive and onerous.

But in Montana, their peers have support from state and local politicians.

The lawmakers first sent a letter in December to the federal government’s Food Safety and Inspection Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture expressing concern that small meat processors in the state were “intimidated, coerced and tormented” by federal inspectors in incidents as old as 2005.

Newspaper articles reported complaints that a Butte, Mont., processor and others made about a federal inspector who routinely required expensive upgrades that were not required by federal regulation, and allegedly issued unfounded non-compliance reports in retaliation for complaints made to the agency.

The state legislature’s Economic Affairs Interim Committee now has sent a second letter asking for an investigation, and also for a personal apology to the businesses it says have been targeted.