CARROLLTON, Ohio — The Eastern Ohio Grazing Council hosted its monthly meeting Feb. 28 and learned about what goes into constructing a meat processing facility.
Bred Maris, a meat supervisor, and Dr. Melissa Reddick, assistant chief in the meat inspection division of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, gave a presentation to the group.
The group learned there’s a lot of regulation involved in constructing a meat processing facility.
There are two types of slaughter and meat processing in Ohio: custom kill and state inspected kill.
A custom kill means inspectors are in the facility only one or two times a week, when they are looking at the basic sanitation practices, and record keeping. The meat from a custom kill, however, cannot be sold to anyone outside of the household that brought the animal to be slaughtered.
A state inspected kill means that an inspector is in the plant whenever processing is completed, and the meat produced can be sold.
The annual licensing fee imposed on either a fully-inspected meat processor or custom processor is $100.
Some of the things the constructor of a new meat processing facility would have to consider is figuring out the flow of operations, the actual construction of the facilities, lighting, ventilation, refrigeration, plumbing, sewage and plant waste disposal.
Other areas that have to be considered are welfare facilities, an inspector office, inedible products area and slaughter areas.
Processors also need to consider labels, which will be needed for each product produced, and the approval needed for sale. In addition, brands are needed for carcasses.
Other written materials, for example, HACCP checklists, are also required, depending on the type of processor.
The group also learned there are very few exemptions to having meat inspected. The exemptions include custom work, religious reasoning and if the meat is for personal use, which means the owner raises, slaughter and consumes the product.
One topic brought up by the group included the “downer laws,” which covers an nonambulatory animal that has been brought to a facility for processing. The group questioned if a facility can get an animal processed if it has broken a leg but is not ambulatory.
Both Reddick and Maris said the animal can not be processed.
Crossing state lines
One other item discussed is something created in the 2008 farm bill. It was implemented in October 2012. The bill now allows state inspected meat to be transported across state lines.
There are seven states that are included in the program. Ohio is the first to begin the process.
Reddick said there will be three facilities shipping meat across state lines for the first time in the next few weeks.
Up until now, any state-inspected processed animal could not be transported across a state line, only federally inspected meat could be shipped interstate.
The ability to ship across state lines will mean a bigger marketplace for Ohio’s livestock producers.