Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Poultry Regulations

Are you in the process of considering a poultry enterprise for you farm?  Have you researched breeds, production methods and markets?  More importantly, have you thought about the regulations involved?

There are 4 basic levels of government that may have some influence in what you do as a producer: federal, state, county and possibly, city.

Selling Processed Birds
If you are selling at a farmers' market, a restaurant or other institutions, there may be a different set of rules and/or restrictions at each, that you will have to follow in order to sell to them.

Beginning at the federal level is the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) tasked with protecting the health and welfare of consumers with regards to meat and meat products.  FSIS is part of USDA.  All regulations follow the guidelines of these four acts of Congress: the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Ac, the Egg Inspection Act and the Humane Slaughter Act.  These are the starting point for understanding what you can legally do.

There is an exemption to these acts in which small producers can benefit.  The chart below comes from an Extension bulletin and simplifies the exemption language.

As a small producer, you are mainly concerned with the Producer/Grower exemptions of 1,000 and 20,000 bird limits.  Both exemptions are good for a calenar year.  Your are not allowed to sell meat through interstate commerce.  The buying and selling of birds produced by others is not allowed.

According to federal law, you are allowed to produce your own birds, process them and sell directly to consumers, hotel, restaurants, institutions, distributors, and retail stores.

Even though you are exempt, you will still need to follow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Service Manual, chapters 2-8, with some exemptions.

As a table egg producer, you are exempt from the federal egg requirements if your laying flock is under 3,000 birds.

At the state level, the MO Dept of Ag (MDA) is the first point of contact.  MDA has a cooperative agreement with USDA and has adopted all the federal regulation for processing and selling poultry.

The MO Meat and Poultry Inspection Program (MMPIP) sees to it that these regulations are carried out in the state.  They are there to help you produce, process and deliver healthy products to consumers.

In the case of meat, you will first contact the MDA MMPIP to register for the appropriate exemptions.

To get started, contact your regional field inspector or compliance peron.  They will review your proposal and  may even visit your farm to discuss your unique sitation.

To legally sell eggs, a completed application to sell eggs accompanied by $5 is all that is required.  Eggs should be candles and held at 48 degrees F.  In the MO Revised Statutes there is an excemption for eggs sold directly from the farm, which requires no license.

To legally sell hatching eggs and baby poultry in MO, you must participate in the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) or an equivalent program.  The MDA administers this program at the state level.

The MO Dept pf Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) does not regulate poultry.

County and City
Each county and city may have regulations that will require you, the individual producer, to find out about.  They are county specific an dcan normally be found in the planning and zoning office of the county in which you live.  At this level, thehealth department may be involved.  For further instructions, check with your local county health department.

The city regulations will be found in your planning and zoning and health departments of the city in which you live.

MMPIP - 573-522-1242 or 573-751-3377
NPIP - 573-751-751-3377
MO Egg Law - 573-751-4316
(taken from Lincoln University Cooperative Extension's Innovative Small Farm Outreach Program)

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