Montana Department of Livestock

Here to serve the people of Montana and its livestock industry.


Montana Meat & Poultry Inspection Section
Cooperative Interstate Shipping Program FAQ

Program FAQs
Question: What is the Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) Program?

The CIS program allows selected “state inspected” establishments to ship their selected products across state lines. This program is voluntary.

Question: Who can apply for CIS?

Any licensed establishment who has had a state Grant of Inspection for at least 90 days and has no more than 25 employees. The establishment needs a satisfactory Food Safety Assessment on record with no outstanding issues and the ability to take measures to completely separate CIS inspected products from all other activities with the establishment.

Application form: Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program Application

Question: Who may not apply for CIS?

Any establishment under USDA Grant of inspection. Any state inspected facility with over 25 employees.

Question: I currently have a custom processing plant. Can I join CIS?

Yes, however, you will need to maintain a state grant of inspection for 90 days before applying to enter the CIS program.

Question: I am an eligible plant owner, what should I do first?

Refer to FSIS Directive 5740.1 which describes the CIS process.

Question: What regulations should I review before requesting the on-site visit?

FSIS Directive 5740.1: Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program

9 CFR Part 313: Humane Handling of Livestock

9 CFR part 416: Sanitation

9 CFR Part 417: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points

9 CFR Part 500: Rules of Practice

*For plants with poultry* 9 CFR Part 381: Poultry Products Inspection Regulations

Question: What will the process involve?

The basics will include:

  • Review of establishments hazard analysis and HACCP plans for all applicable processes
  • Review of recall plan, food defense plan and labels.
  • Onsite review of facility will be completed by state inspection staff.
  • Entrance meeting with USDA official will be scheduled to review: employee numbers, labels, facilities and equipment and product processes to finalize establishment is able to meet basic requirements.
  • If requirements are not met the representative will discuss with plant and state inspection staff what is necessary for eligibility. If USDA standards are not met by the second visit the establishment may not reapply for one year.
Question: Once I am in the CIS program, where can I ship my products?

Anywhere within the United States.

Question: Who will be my inspector if I enter this program?

A state of Montana Department of Livestock inspector will still be the regular inspector. A federal inspector will conduct less frequent, unscheduled inspections as well.

Question: Who can I contact if I have additional questions?

Interested facilities should contact the Department of Livestock at 406-444-5202 or


Additional information regarding the CIS Program can be found at:

Hi, I can help answer your questions!