Big News for Meat Handlers Interested in Reaching New Markets and Developing Value-Added Products and Cuts for Off-Site Sale Under a County Inspected Facility!

— Written By and last updated by

Because of a change in new regulatory interpretation, a meat handler is now allowed to produce and package meat and poultry products in a restaurant, retail meat market, shared-use incubator kitchen or other County-Inspected facility, carry the products to another location (such as a farmers market), and sell them directly to the consumers. This process used to only be allowable under an N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services MPID inspection, but now is legal for a County-Inspected retail market.

Earlier this year, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) published a guideline entitled, “FSIS Guideline for Determining Whether a Livestock Slaughter or Processing Firm is Exempt from the Inspection Requirements of the Federal Meat Inspection Act.”

In this document, USDA, FSIS updated their definition of “in commerce.”  This new definition makes it legal for a County-Inspected retail market to sell packaged meat and poultry products to end consumers in locations other than their market, provided the products remain under their control.

This means one can produce and package meat and poultry products in a restaurant, retail meat market, shared-use incubator kitchen or other County-Inspected facility, carry the products to another location (such as a farmers market) and sell them directly to the consumers. Previously this activity required inspection from NCDA&CS Meat and Poultry Inspection Division or our federal counterparts, USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service.

NCDA&CS Meat and Poultry Inspection Division has created the following notice (linked below) to educate persons about this new regulatory interpretation and the requirements for meeting this exemption. NC Department of Health and Human Services reviewed and contributed to this policy notice. They will be disseminating it to the local county health inspection personnel, whom they license.

Off-Site Retail Sales of Meat and Poultry Products