Federal Poultry exemptions

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Armyman2007, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. Armyman2007

    Armyman2007 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 14, 2010
    Hi everyone this is my first post! I have been lurking for awhile and am really interested in getting some chickens this spring. I am thinking about meat chickens and am trying to understand the federal exemptions for processing and sale. I live in Indiana and would like to sell the processed birds on farm and at local farmers markets. If any fellow hoosiers could help explain the state and federal regs to me I would appreciate it. I don't want to end up in prison [​IMG]
  2. cw

    cw Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2009
    green co.
    welcome from ky,
    as far as the regs i cant help you there, but you should seek the advice from your local county extension agent,
  3. Armyman2007

    Armyman2007 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 14, 2010
    Thanks cw, I emailed the county extension agent today back and forth a few times. They are at Purdue and weren't even sure of the regs. They did give me a link to the federal regs which I am trying to "decode". I just want to make sure Indiana doesn't have different regs than the federal ones.
  4. protodon

    protodon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 3, 2009
    From what I found, Indiana follows the Federal Poultry Products Inspection Act and you can read about exemptions here:

    http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations/PPIA/index.asp#Sec. 464

    Basically if your poultry is processed for personal/family use by the person who raised them, there is no inspection required, that would be obvious. It also says you are exempt if you slaughter less than 20,000 birds per year. But it seems to contradict itself about selling to customers whether one is exempt or not. One part i read said you are exempt if you giving the processed meat away but says if you sell it must be labeled with name and address of person who raised/processed the birds. A bit confusing but if you stay under 20,000 and label properly I doubt anyone would bother you.
  5. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    I've been looking into the same thing in KY. I'm still not completely certain, it's hard to get straight answers. This appears to the case in many states. I called the USDA office in KY, and still couldn't find out.

    It seems that state regs can trump federal exemptions. Though the fed exemptions would allow people to process and sell their own poultry, if under the specified number of birds per year, if the state regs are stricter, they are the ones you have to abide by. KY makes it so absurdly difficult and expensive to comply with the requirements, that it's unlikely most people would ever be able to qualify.

    As a result, there are only 2 approved processors in the whole state. Neither of which is anywhere near me.

    I wanted to get info on what it would take to licensed, or certified, or whatever they require here, as an approved processor, myself. Process my own birds for sale, and get paid to process for others. So far, I'm still waiting to hear back from a woman at the USDA office. She called back once, to let me know where, (hours away) I could take my birds to be processed, and tell me about the mobile processing unit that costs almost as much to use as just going to a processor, and you still have to transport the birds, (there are only 2 approved docking stations where it's legal to use it, again hours away) and you can only use it if your flock is NPIP. I told her I already knew about that, and exp[lained that wasn't what I had asked. I explained, again, that I want to do the processing, I want to open a processing business, not huge, just for myself and other small producers.

    That was about 3 weeks ago, I guess I'll call them again and give it another try.

    I sincerely hope you have better luck in your state.

    Here's an excerpt from a document I found when I googled :
    "B. Exemptions from Federal Requirements for Small-Scale Poultry Processors

    The federal Poultry Products Inspection Act and its regulations provide exemptions for
    small-scale poultry processors. These “exemptions from inspection” mean that a federal
    inspector does not need to be present to examine the birds as they are being slaughtered and
    processed. Small-scale (or low-volume) processors qualify for these exemptions simply by
    meeting the requirements which are described below. There is no process for applying to the
    USDA or FSIS for these exemptions.

    The smallest-scale processors are exempt from the federal inspection requirements if the
    following conditions are met:

    1. The producer slaughters no more than 1,000 poultry during the calendar year for which the
    exemption is claimed.

    2. All of the poultry were raised on the producer’s own farm.

    3. The poultry producer is not in the business of buying or selling poultry products other than
    those produced from poultry raised on his or her farm.

    4. None of the poultry is distributed outside of the state where the poultry is raised.

    The federal inspection requirements also do not apply to poultry producers or other
    persons who raise and slaughter or process 20,000 or fewer poultry in each calendar year as
    long as all of the following conditions are met:
    1. They do not slaughter or process poultry products at a facility used for slaughtering or
    processing poultry by any other person.

    2. The poultry are sound and healthy before slaughtering.

    3. The poultry are slaughtered, handled, and otherwise processed under sanitary conditions,
    practices and procedures. The resulting poultry products must be sound, clean, and fit for
    human food when distributed.

    4. The poultry products are distributed with a label that includes the producer’s name, the
    producer’s address, and the statement “Exempted-P.L. 90-492.” The poultry products must
    not be misbranded in any way.

    5. The poultry products may be distributed only in the state in which the poultry are raised and

    6. In the current calendar year the poultry producer or distributor may not engage in the business
    of buying or selling any poultry products other than those described in this exemption.

    The poultry products produced under these exemptions may be distributed by the poultry
    producer or other person directly to household consumers, restaurants, hotels, and
    boardinghouses for use in their own dining rooms, or in the preparation of meals for sale to direct

    Despite these exemptions from inspection of the birds themselves as they are being
    processed, the federal FSIS as well as state regulatory agencies may choose to examine
    processing facilities of any size to be sure that they are in compliance with the laws, including the
    requirement that poultry and poultry products are processed under clean and sanitary conditions.
    If the facility is not in compliance with the law, the FSIS or the state may suspend or terminate
    the facility’s exemption from the law and impose penalties provided under federal or state law. "

    These links might be helpful.
  6. pdpatch

    pdpatch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2008
    Hastings, Nebraska
    The category in question is if you sale to individual people at your farm or place where you raised the poultry. That is they pick up the processed poultry where you are at.
    This keeps you in the category of a Farmer/Rancher.
    No Fed inspection is required, But there may be some states who do requires this.

    If you sale to others who will resale the poultry. This moves you to a commercial establishment. Then you pretty much must have an inspected butchering facility.
    Generally the butchering or processing facility can not be in your home.

    Depending on who you sale to commercial it's either the State of Feds who do the inspection.

  7. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Lots of good info, esp. DancingBear... that helped me quite a bit and I was just cruising!! [​IMG]

    If/when we go here I'm still going to interrogate about TX laws, but it's nice to know for sure what the Fed ones are.
  8. Kim_NC

    Kim_NC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 27, 2009
    Mt Airy, NC
    It's most states, it's regulated by the Dept of Agriculture. You'll probably get better answers contacting them. And many of them have the regulations posted on their websites.

    For example, here in NC we can legally process 1000 head of total poultry (total, all types) and sell for meat without inspection. Pork and Beef however can only be processed at an inspected slaughter house, and carry a USDA or NCDA label, if for retail sale. To tranport the meat (to farmers markets, for example) a Meat Handlers License is required. We raise and sell all of them - poultry, beef, pork. A Dept of Agr inspector came here to he farm, covered regulations with us, checked our equipment (freezers, etc), couldn't have been more helpful., had our license issued, etc.

    edit: typos
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  9. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Kim does the beef/pork rule apply to the meat you might slaughter and store for your own use, or only for any you intend to sell?

    Not my state, just curious if there's any difference between the two where you are.
  10. farmboy238

    farmboy238 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 24, 2009
    All on farm processing is a legal mine field! Everyone, to include USDA, is confused as to the regs, especially their "INTERPRETATION" of those regs. In some states federal guidelines are followed and allowed to determine your legal status and some states their regulation is more specific and in addition to the Feds. All of this is VERY, VERY, state specific(and confusing as H**L). One good piece of advice That I would give you is to join the "Farmer to Consumer Legal Defense Fund" (which we should all be a part of anyway). Be sure to get some face time with the head of your State's Department of Agriculture Regulatory Agency and ask to have their interpretation of the rules illuminated! Hang in there and fight the good fight it's going to take all of us to win!

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