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New Mexico State Meat Inspection Bill Clears Committee

New Mexico cows
Bill Wolf
Associated Press
New Mexico cows

New Mexico is a step closer to conducting its own meat inspections after a bill unanimously was given a “Do Pass” recommendation Tuesday in the House Agriculture, Acequias, and Water Resources Committee.

House Bill 205, known as the Meat Inspection Act, would allow the New Mexico Livestock Board to conduct its own inspections to ensure quality and safety of meat for human consumption.   

It all stems from during the pandemic when USDA meat inspections were greatly backlogged, often taking up to six months to get the work completed.

Under the law, all inspections would follow the same regulations set forth by the USDA, but can get done much quicker, which could also lead to more processing plants to open in the state.

Veterinarian Tim Hanosh is the Meat and Poultry Inspection Director at the New Mexico Livestock Board. He says the state inspections would save costs and would be intended to be used as an educational tool.

“Right now if you were to get into the business, if you Googled FSIS and you wanted the Food Safety Inspection Service and you wanted to start a processing plant of some sort, you’d be overwhelmed by all the regulations,” he said. “We’re not going to be able to take shortcuts. We still are going to have to meet the same standards, but if we do this correctly, we should be much, much more approachable than USDA and the FSIS.”           

The bill passed the committee unanimously and will now head over the House Judiciary Committee.

The New Mexico Livestock Board is the oldest law enforcement agency in the state. The NMLB is charged with serving and protecting the New Mexico livestock industry against loss of livestock by theft or wandering and controlling the spread of disease. The Industry provides three to four billion dollars to the state’s economy every year.