Meat Processing Laws: A State Compilation


The Problem:

When opening a meat slaughter and processing facility, there can be a multitude of requirements ranging from waste disposal to labeling, and these requirements often vary from place to place.


The Research

The processing of livestock is governed on a national level, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) is given primary authority for oversight. However, this authority may be designated to a state agency, as long as the state requirements are “at least equal to” those enforced by USDA-FSIS.

Whether overseen by the federal or state government, each facility that slaughters and processes livestock must meet requirements regarding sanitation, building requirements and more. However, these requirements can vary from state to state, and depending on the type of facility. In order to manage risk appropriately, it is important to obtain correct information before finalizing plans for a new facility.

Legal researchers at the National Agricultural Law Center have created a multifaceted resource for those interested in opening a meat slaughtering and processing facility. The publication ‘Meat Processing Laws in the United States’ provides interested parties with contact information to offices of appropriate authorities on a state-by-state basis. Relevant statutes in those states that have a meat inspection program in place are also provided.


The Bottom Line

Requirements for opening meat slaughtering and processing facilities exist on the federal level and, in some places, the state level. Because of the number of requirements, and the considerable variation across the U.S., it is important that those interested in opening such a facility refer to the requirements in their state.

This project was supported by the National Agricultural Library, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Related Link

Meat Processing Laws in the United States – A State Compilation



The Researcher

Elizabeth Rumley

Elizabeth Rumley

Senior Staff Attorney for the National Agricultural Law Center.

Rumley earned a B.A. from Michigan State University before graduating cum laude from the University of Toledo College of Law and earning her LL.M. in Agricultural Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law. She is licensed to practice law in Michigan, Ohio and Oklahoma.

Her primary area of research and scholarship is on legal issues in animal agriculture, and she frequently lectures on those issues and others to audiences nationwide.