Meat Safety Assurance Unit
An individual who contemplates engaging in a business slaughtering livestock and/or processing meat or poultry or meat or poultry food products should contact the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), Meat Safety Assurance (MSA) Unit to determine whether the proposed business is required to have a Grant of Inspection.
A Grant of Inspection is an authorization from DSHS to engage in a meat or poultry related business
Anyone in the state of Texas that slaughters animals is required to obtain a Grant of Inspection prior to beginning production.
Anyone in the state of Texas that produces meat products intended for wholesale (such as to grocery stores, or any individual or business that intends to resale the meat) is required to obtain a Grant of Inspection prior to beginning production.
What grants of exemption are available through Meat Safety Assurance?
Anyone that slaughters animals or processes meat products for customers that own the animals or meat products, may opt to apply for a Grant of Custom Exemption along with or instead of a Grant of Inspection. The products produced under this grant must be marked as ‘Not For Sale’ and be returned to the customer that owned the animal exclusively for use in the household of the customer, by him or her and members of his or her household and nonpaying guests and employees.
Anyone that raises poultry or rabbits, and slaughters 10,000 birds or rabbits (or combination thereof) per year or less may opt to apply for a Grant of Poultry Exemption instead of a Grant of Inspection. These products may be sold on the farm or through locations other than the farm. Products produced under this grant and intended to be sold through locations other than the farm where the livestock is produced, must be clearly marked with the producer’s name, address, and the term ‘Exempted P.L. 90-492’.
In what instances are establishments that produce meat products exempt from obtaining a grant through Meat Safety Assurance? (Anyone that falls under these categories must inquire with their local retail division or state Food Establishments Group and the state manufactured Foods Group).
Anyone that produces meat products intended strictly for retail sale (such as from the establishment where the products were produced or in a location where the owner of the establishment or his designee is physically with the product when the sale takes place) is exempt from obtaining a Grant of Inspection through Meat Safety Assurance. The person that purchases the retail product must be the end consumer, to be used exclusively in the household of the consumer, by him or her and members of his or her household and/or nonpaying guests.
Anyone that is purchasing pre-packaged, inspected products, and selling them as pass through products (meaning the packages are not opened or changed in any way) intended for wholesale is exempt from obtaining a Grant of Inspection through Meat Safety Assurance.
Retail operations are allowed to sell a limited amount of retail products to hotels, restaurants, and similar institutions (also referred to as ‘HRI’) without obtaining a Grant of Inspection. For more detailed information regarding the actual dollar limitations, please visit http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/NR_040606_02/index.asp .
Anyone that only processes hunter killed game (such as white tailed deer or feral swine) is not required to obtain a grant through Meat Safety Assurance. If, however, the same establishment also produces retail products using the same equipment as is used to process the hunter-killed feral swine, a Grant of Custom Exemption is mandatory.
Meat inspection staff are considered public servants and therefore a Grant of Inspection is obtained at no cost to the establishment producing applicable meat products.
When an establishment obtains a Grant of Inspection, the establishment agrees upon a work schedule with Meat Safety Assurance. Any time worked beyond that Work Schedule Agreement will result in overtime charges at the currently set rate. Examples of instances where the establishment will be charged overtime include: the establishment works beyond its agreed 8 hour day; the establishment works beyond its agreed 40 hour week; the establishment works on a holiday; the establishment works on a Saturday or Sunday; etc.
Meat inspectors are staffed to be in each inspected establishment every day that the establishment is producing inspected products. An inspector must be present for the entire time that an establishment is slaughtering animals under inspection.
The establishment is required to provide a desk, chair, and file cabinet with a hasp for a lock for Meat Safety Assurance inspection staff to use. (Meat Safety Assurance will provide the lock.)
Grants of inspection are awarded to individuals, not buildings or establishments. If an existing establishment (that already has a Grant of Inspection) is sold to new owners, the Grant of Inspection expires, and a new Grant of Inspection must be obtained in the new owner’s name.
For information regarding basic requirements to qualify for a Grant of Inspection, custom exemption, poultry exemption or other questions, please contact the MSA Central Office, in Austin, at 512-834-6760.