What certifications does a person need to become a meat processer?....

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by r.h. in okla., Jun 6, 2005.

  1. ...and be able to process livestock for people at your own home?

    A few years ago I started processing deer for people and done it for a couple of years on a large scale. During that time I had dozens and dozens of phone calls from people wanting to know if I could cut up their pig or steer. I turned them down knowing that I might could get in big trouble with the health department for not having license, proper facility, etc. But I'm not sure just what qualifies a person to be able to be a processer. So does anyone know what steps to take?
     
  2. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Generally each state regulates the specifics of that. I would check with an extension office in your area, or on-line for Oklahoma Ext.

    Seems a proper kitchen to govt standards, with hot & cold water & wastewater disposal, and proper cleanliness & storage of various products is the big deal on inspection generally?

    I'm not sure, but processing meat is processing meat, I might not advertise too much about the deer - would expect that to fall under the same rules really?

    --->Paul
     

  3. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

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    r.h.

    I think you're fine as you stay below the radar. Process for yourself and family, and possibly friends. Want to get bigger?

    Got half a million???

    Our local established abattoir's place burned down two years ago. He moved to a better location, but since he lost his 'grandfathered' status, it was going to cost close to half million to add everything the usda required, and then having a meat inspector in on slaughter days. He went with already slaughtered animals, as he knew it was hard to compete with the local grocers anyways.

    If you advertise, you'd probably get caught up in the bureaucratic machine, and have a lot of red tape regs to follow, plus the possibility of paying an inspector to look at your meat....plus his/her own private restroom, and their own breakroom.....this riled our local butcher so much he surrendered on the reopening of this county's only slaughterhouse....
     
  4. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Deer is considered to be game with it almost being a hobby sport. Cattle and swine are considered to be commercial livestock and thusly have much stricter and numerous rules and regulations.

    I believe processing generally falls within three categories:

    1. Not for resale. Here the customer gets back their own meat and it is stamped on the package as not being for resale.

    2. Intra-state, to where the meat is not sold out of state. We have one in the Nashville area called Tennessee Beef or such which mostly buys cull cows and processes it into low-grade cuts and hamburger for several mom & pop-type stores or small chains.

    3. Interstate, to where the meat can be sold out of state. These are the large, commercial plants.

    Local plant in McEwen wanted to go from a type 1 to type 2, which would allow them to purchase livestock, process them and sell over the counter as a meat market. They put over $125K in upgrades to the small facility and still didn't meet intrastate regulations. And, yes, the inspectors insisted on their private breakroom and private bathroom - when they might only be there one or two days a week.

    Start with your county agent to determine what the rules are in your state. For example, you might be able to do the processing on the customer's property and be OK, but not slaughtering or processing on your own without burdensome restrictions.

    Remember, sometimes it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission.
     
  5. TabletopHomestead

    TabletopHomestead Well-Known Member

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    r.h. In researching the same topic for Oklahoma all I can find is that it is legal to process livestock that is brought to you by the owner for the use of him and his immediate family and non-paying guests only. I have yet to find any specifications for the facility, only this exemption to the meat processing regulations. Also, I've talked to deer processors that tell me that they're under no inspection or regulation. (God bless Oklahoma for keeping government somewhat reined in!) I can send you a copy of the regulation if you'ld like. Just email me.

     
  6. leaping leon

    leaping leon Well-Known Member

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    Those kind of regulations both frighten and anger me. How does our government get away with such stupidity? And some people want MORE government?! Sometimes I fear that I will see our government collapse under the burden of laws and regulations...in my lifetime...

    There also are other ways to get around the certification process; for instance you can "help" someone to slaughter a beef they've bought from you, but I would be careful to see that the buyer does contribute some of the processing (and you might want to find some way of documenting the work the buyer does in each case for proof)...and some states still allow people to slaughter a number of poultry each year, the Fed regs used to allow up to a thousand, but the states and counties also stack their own restrictions on top of that...

    But as long as there's no laws regulating game slaughter, then I would think about raising and slaughtering game animals...and I wonder how emus, water buffalo etc. fall into these regs...more exotic meats bring in more money if you can connect with the right market...
     
  7. farminghandyman

    farminghandyman Well-Known Member Supporter

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  8. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would barter in exchange for processing a beef or swine, that way you are not exchanging money. It's legal that way in most states, but I would check to make sure. I barter for everything I sell and if I need the money I resell what I barter for. I've never come out on the short end yet, but it'll happen eventually.

    Bobg
     
  9. birdie_poo

    birdie_poo Well-Known Member

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    We just sell the animal live. If they want it processed, it's only after it becomes their property. I'll never sell pre-processed to my family, either...they will stab you inthe back quicker than a friend or stranger.
     
  10. Thanks for the responses and thanks for the advice. I haven't really found my answers yet. However I do now remember why the processing place about 25 miles south of me did not rebuild after it burned down. It was going to cost them close to a million dollars to rebuild and be able to pass inspection. Money they didn't have. They only offered their services for those who brought their own livestock in. So if they couldn't afford to rebuild then I surely don't have the money to build.

    My thoughts were that I am thinking of getting back into processing deer for the hunters once again. If I do I am going to construct a building here on my place to do the work in. I was just wondering if I do the deer processing then just how much more would it take to go ahead and process livestock for individuals as well. I am thinking that it might cost me in the neighborhood of about 20,000 to design and build a small building to process deer in. Money I should be able to come up with easily.
     
  11. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    there is some variance from state to state, but for the most part this falls under the Federal food safety act AND USDA. Deer and other game animals are different than livestock and have much less strict rules. I looked into this a while back since I sell rams for religious slaughter and thought if I built a processing "room" it would be more convienient and would pay for itself...not so. To comply with all the regulations I calculated it would cost $30,000 minimum. It would take a lot of processing to pay for that. You can slaughter and butcher your own animals for your immediate family in whatever fashion you like, and non-paying guests and friends, but as soon as money is involved the regualtions start piling up. (remember even if you give it away someone might come back and claim they got food poisoning, and so you do have liability, so you might want to discuss this with your insurance agent first).
    I found the simplest way to comply is to sell the live animal and allow the customer to kill and slaughter the animal at my place, I let them use my knives etc. but they have to do all the butchering, I'm not allowed to help.
    The other way, is (direct to consumer) to sell the live animal and you can charge them for transportation cost to take the live animal to a Custom processor, add the cost of having the proccessor do his/her work and then sell the meat of THE ENTIRE CARCASS to said consumer, not just certain cuts. The meat has to be labeled not for retail sale, farm name or address, date, weight and type of meat. Note that a livestock processor will only take a live animal so the inspector can inspect it if he/she desires. Again game animals are different and some facilities will have a game processor on one side and a livestock processor on the other
    If you want to sell Parts or cuts, you have to take the live animal to a USDA processor and have the parts labelled accordingly. There are separate licenses for custom or USDA processors
     
  12. TabletopHomestead

    TabletopHomestead Well-Known Member

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    I've never found anything in these regs laying out facility requirements for the custom processor exemption. Have you seen anything like that in your research?