Food Engineering

Interstate shipment lawsuit rejected by federal court

April 4, 2003
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio has rejected a lawsuit filed by Ohio Secretary of Agriculture Fred Dailey, which claimed parts of the federal meat and poultry statutes are unconstitutional. Dailey had sued the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) claiming the provisions in the federal statutes that prohibit the interstate shipment of state-inspected meat and poultry products violate the equal protection clause and the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The court held that the differing treatment of state and federally inspected products was rational and that it was appropriate for Congress to place a limit on the market of state inspected goods. The American Meat Institute filed a "friend of the court" brief in the case supporting USDA's position that Congress could limit the shipment of state inspected products and the restrictions were not discriminatory.

"I wasn't surprised, but I was disappointed," said Shannon McQuade, chief legal council for Dailey, who indicated at press time that her client was still debating whether or not to appeal the decision. A decision had to be made by the first week of February.