Thursday, April 29, 2010

Home Processing of Rabbits

Until just recently I wasn't aware that farmers could process rabbits on their farm and sell them to directly to consumers, restaurants, hotels, and boarding houses.   After reading through the regulations below, if you still have questions, contact the Missouri Meat and Poultry Inspection Program at the Missouri Dept of Agriculture.

The following has been copied from Chapter 3 of the Code of Regulations Rules of Department of Agriculture Division 30—Animal Health,  Chapter 10—Food Safety and Meat Inspection concerning the home processing of rabbits.

(D) The slaughtering of sound and healthy rabbits or the processing of rabbit products by any rabbit producer or other person for distribution by him or her solely and directly to household consumers, restaurants, hotels, and boarding houses for use in their own dining rooms, or in the preparation of meals for sales direct to consumers. In lieu of other labeling requirements, such rabbit products must be identified with the name and address of the processor; must not be otherwise misbranded; and must be sound, clean, and fit for human food when distributed by such processor.  Persons operating under this exemption must retain records reflecting the date of each sale, the name of the buyer for each sale and the number of rabbits sold at each sale.  Records required by this part must be maintained and available for inspection for two (2) years from the date of sale.

(E) The exemptions provided for in subsections (6)(C) and (6)(D) hereof shall not apply if the rabbit producer or other person:
1. Slaughters or processes the products of more than one thousand (1,000) rabbits in a calendar year;
2. Slaughters rabbit products at a facility used by any other rabbit producers or persons for slaughtering rabbits or processing rabbit product; or
3. Engages in the business of buying or selling any rabbit or rabbit products other than as specified.

(F) Any person not qualifying for exemption of rabbits and rabbit products are subject to inspection and must follow state meat inspection requirements.

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