A Mexican restaurant remains closed under current orders to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Friday, May 8, 2020, in South Portland, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty | AP

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PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s agriculture commissioner has called on the federal government to loosen the rules about the interstate shipping of meat during the coronavirus pandemic.

Amanda Beal, the head of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Program should temporarily lift restrictions that prevent state-inspected meat from being sold or donated across state lines.

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She said that would “smooth out bottlenecks in the local food chain, reduce the need to cull healthy livestock and poultry and support our food-insecure during this extremely difficult time.” She said processing facilities in the state are facing pressure to meet demand.

The state is confident state-inspected facilities can keep up with needed oversight if the waiver is granted. A request for comment was left with the USDA press office.