Meat Inspection Information

Meat Inspection Information for Eaters

There are three ways that meat purchased at can be processed. All meat processing establishments used are government licensed either at the state or federal level. Below is a brief description of each processing type. Please note that different states, counties and cities have different rules that govern the inspection and processing of meat and poultry products.

Please note also, that the term "inspected" pertains to the meat in this case, and not the establishment. All meat processing establishments have to be inspected according to government regulations in order for them to remain licensed.

The Three Different Types of Processing Facilities:

A) USDA-inspected

Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and the Poultry Products Inspection Act(PPIA), FSIS provides inspection for all meat and poultry products sold in interstate commerce to ensure that they meet U.S. food safety standards. Meat that is sold across state lines after it is processed must be processed in this type of facility.

B) State-inspected

Some states have state-inspected processing facilities which are managed by state departments and not by the USDA. At this time, meat that is sold within the borders of most states after it is processed can be processed in this type of facility. Meat that is sold in a state-inspected facility after it has been processed cannot be sold across state lines.

C) Custom Exempt

Custom exempt processing facilities are establishments that custom-prepare meat and meat products without inspection or with voluntary inspection. Meat and poultry products from these facilities are generally labeled "Not for Sale" and must not be sold to another party afterwards. Some states allow meat that is sold to a customer before it is processed, to be processed by custom exempt facilities as long as certain other requirements are met.

Please Note: If you order product that will be processed in a "Custom Exempt" establishment, it will most likely arrive in packages labeled "not for sale". This is because you purchased and therefore owned the product before it was processed, and it is to be used only by you, your family and guests. It is against state and/or federal law to sell product prepared and packaged in this way.

Any Questions

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