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A family of large flightless birds that include ostriches, emus, and rheas, which U.S. farmers are beginning to domesticate and raise for food. Ratite inspection has become a policy issue because producers want USDA to include them under the mandatory meat and poultry inspection laws. If plants that slaughter and process these birds were under mandatory inspection, most of the cost would be covered by taxpayers. Currently, such plants must pay for USDA inspection on a fee-for-service basis, under a voluntary ratite inspection program instituted in 1995 under authority of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946.

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