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Following the U.S. Civil War, westward expansion and development of refrigerated railroad cars spurred the growth of not only the livestock industry, but also meat packing and international trade. In response to the growing pressure from veterinarians, ranchers, and meat packers for a unified effort to eradicate livestock diseases in the United States, President Chester Arthur signed the Bureau of Animal Industry Act, which created USDA’s Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) in 1884, effectively the true forerunner of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

BAI’s function was to focus on preventing diseased animals from being used as food. BAI gained further responsibility in 1890 to enforce the newly approved meat inspection act to ensure salted pork and bacon intended for export was safe. In 1891, the Act was amended to cover the inspection and certification of all live cattle for export and live cattle that were to be slaughtered and their meat exported.

USDA’s FSIS’ history of the Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1906