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    The Meat Safety Assurance Unit is within the Division for Regulatory Services.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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Meat Safety Assurance Unit

Q. What must I do to sell meat and/or poultry products to the public?

A. The answer depends upon the nature of the business: If you are going to sell meat and/or poultry products wholesale, you will need a Grant of Inspection from MSA.
Note: "Wholesale" refers to a transaction where you sell the product to someone who then sells the product to the public, or where they use your product in the production of a product for sale to the public.

If you are going to slaughter livestock or poultry, other than your own livestock on your own property, you will need a Grant of Inspection from MSA.

If you are going to sell meat and/or poultry products retail, you will not need a Grant of Inspection from MSA. You will need a permit from your city/county health department or the Retail Food Division of the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
Note: "Retail" refers to a transaction where you sell the product directly to the end consumer. Meat and/or poultry products that are sold retail must be prepared from meat that originated from an "approved source."

Evidence that a meat or poultry product comes from an approved source is the presence on the product of a state (in the shape of Texas) or federal (circle) mark of inspection.

Q. Can I sell inspected meat and/or poultry products that I produced in my home?

A. No. Meat and/or poultry products sold to the public, whether wholesale or retail, shall not be produced in a residence.

Q. Can I slaughter and process my own animals?

A. Yes. A "Personal Use Exemption" is included in the Meat and Poultry Inspection Act. It exempts you from the requirements for inspection when slaughtering your own animal, on your own property, for consumption in your household.

Q. What does "amenable" mean?

A. The term "amenable" means that the animal species or products derived from those species are subject to inspection. There are some species that are amenable to state regulations, but not to federal regulations, e.g. quail and exotic wild game.

Q. What constitutes a "Custom Operation."

A. A "Custom Operation" is one in which a person or entity offers slaughter and/or processing services to the public for a fee. The animal to be slaughtered or the meat to be processed belongs to the customer, not the establishment. After the services are rendered, all of the resultant material must be returned to the owner of the animal or altered in an approved manner to prevent its use as food.

Q. If I have my animal slaughtered under inspection, can I have the carcass cut up at my local meat market?

A. Yes

Q. Must I have my deer processed at an inspected establishment?

A. Not unless you harvest exotic wild game for wholesale distribution. The Meat and Poultry Inspection Act defines exotic animal as "...a member of a species of game not indigenous to this state, including an axis deer, nilga antelope, red sheep, or other cloven-hooved ruminant animal." The processing of white-tailed deer is not regulated by the Meat Safety Assurance Division.

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Last updated January 14, 2011