Montana legislators have sent a request to the USDA that the department open an outside investigation into the behavior of its federal inspectors in Montana. They are alleging that small meat processors in the state were intimidated, coerced and tormented by inspectors, reports the Great Falls Tribune.

In particular, the case of Bart Riley, owner of Riley Meats, was brought up. Riley, who is a third-generation operator of his Butte business, began receiving complaints from federal inspectors in 2005. His inspector required him to use plastic pallets instead of wood ones, replace metal walls with glass board, buy stainless steel carts and build an office for the inspector. After making more than $10,000 worth of changes to his business, he found that those improvements were not required by federal regulations. When he complained, the number of non-compliance reports increased. At one point, he was asked to prove that the water to his business, which comes from the city water supply, was drinkable.

“"They should apologize," said Rep. Nate McConnell, D-Missoula. “They should apologize to Riley Meats because we don't do that in Montana. If you make a mistake you say 'I'm sorry,' and 'How do I fix it.'”

Source: Great Falls Tribune