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Introduction

Food safety is a critical concern for your business and your customers. The failure to control a food safety hazard in your operation can make people sick and result in undesirable legal and economic consequences for you and your industry. A Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan for your farm is a valuable tool that can help you to produce a safer food product; it focuses on thinking about and eliminating, minimizing, or reducing food safety hazards to an acceptable level. A HACCP program will reduce the likelihood that your operation will produce an unwholesome food and save you from economic losses that can result when you must dispose of an unsafe product at the end of the line.

While a formal Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan is not required for birds slaughtered and processed under the Producer/Grower – 1000 Bird Limit Exemption, it is widely regarded as the heart of safe food handling and therefore is highly recommended that producer/growers give consideration to control points in their processing procedures.

The Seven Steps of HACCP
1. Assess food safety hazards associated with all areas of your product and your process, and describe measures that prevent the hazards.
2. Determine the Critical Control Points (CCPs) – observable and measurable.
3. Establish the Critical Limits (standards) for each CCP.
4. Establish Monitoring Procedures for the CCPs.
5. Establish Corrective Actions to be taken when CCPs are not in control.
6. Establish Record-Keeping Procedures that effectively document the HACCP system.
7. Establish Verification Procedures to determine that the system is working. Each HACCP plan is unique to a specific food product and processing facility. The outline included below has been developed for use by New York State poultry producer processing under the Producer/Grower – 1000 Bird Limit Exemption to produce raw poultry carcasses for direct-to-consumer sale.

Hazard Analysis & Identification of Critical Control Points in Poultry Slaughter

Process Step Potential Hazard Control Measures Hazard Significant &
Reasonably Likely to Occur
Receive/Hold Biological/Physical:
fecal contamination
from birds
Withhold feed 12
hours prior to
processing. Clean
foreign matter from
birds
Yes, steps to control
contamination throughout
processing.
Kill/Bleed Biological: pathogen
introduction
Proper cleaning of
cones, equipment &
utensils
No
Scald Biological: pathogen
introduction
Monitor water
temperature: change
water if /as required
No
Pluck Biological: pathogen
introduction
Proper cleaning of
equipment,
including rubber
picker fingers
No
Pre-Chill Biological: pathogen
introduction
Monitor water
temperature: change
frequently
No
Remove head,
crop, feet, and
oil gland
Biological: pathogen
introduction
Proper cleaning of
equipment &
utensils
No
Make cut
around vent
Biological: accidental
fecal contamination
Proper training,
Proper cleaning of
equipment &
utensils
No
Eviscerate Biological: pathogen
introduction
Proper cleaning of
equipment &
utensils; proper care
in not puncturing
intestines
Yes
Harvest Liver,
Heart, Gizzard
& Neck
Biological: pathogen
introduction
Proper cleaning of
equipment &
utensils
No
Trim Carcass,
Final Rinse
Biological: pathogen
introduction
Trim to remove
foreign matter.
Proper cleaning of
equipment &
utensils
No
Final
Inspection;
Carcass,
Giblets, Neck
Biological: pathogen
introduction
Trim to remove
foreign matter.
Proper cleaning of
equipment
Yes
Chill Carcass,
giblets, neck
Biological: pathogen
growth
Monitor temperature Yes
Drain Carcass,
Giblets, Neck
Biological: pathogen
introduction
Physical:
contamination from
foreign matter
Proper cleaning of
equipment, utensils
and food contact
surfaces
No
Cut Up Carcass Biological: pathogen
introduction
Physical:
contamination from
foreign matter
Proper cleaning of
equipment, utensils
and food contact
surfaces
No
Package, Weigh
& Label
Biological: pathogen
introduction from
birds
Physical:
contamination from
foreign matter
Include Safe
Handling
Instructions on label.
Wash or trim to
remove
contamination from
foreign matter.
No

At final inspection there will be no visible foreign matter and zero tolerance for fecal matter and ingesta. The internal bird temperature tested in the cavity with thermal probe is to be below 41°F.

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Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures

Introduction
Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) and Sanitation Standard Sanitation Operating Procedures (SSOP’s) are designed to prevent the creation of unsanitary processing conditions and ensure that food products are wholesome and unadulterated. They describe how to carry out and document safe food handling and personal hygiene practices (Good Management Practices).

1. SOP for Site Management & Pest Control

      A. Frequency: prior to each scheduled processing date.
      B. Person responsible: Producer-processor or designee.
      C. Procedure:
        a. Visually inspect processing environment (grounds and buildings, including storage areas and sanitary facilities) for cleanliness and presence of pests. List needed corrective actions.
        b. Perform corrective actions
                 c. Document, sign and date in Operations Log.

2. SSOP for Personnel Health & Hygiene

      A. Frequency: each day of poultry processing.
      B. Person responsible: Producer-processor or designee.
      C. Procedure:
        a. Interview and visually check processing personnel for health and personal hygiene considerations, prior to approving anyone for food handling. Dismiss anyone found unsuitable for work.
                 b. Document, sign and date in Operations Log.

3. SSOP: Pre-­‐Operational Inspection & Sanitation Schedule

      A. Frequency: each day of poultry processing
      B. Persons responsible: Producer-processor or designee.
      C. Procedure:
        a. Visually inspect all equipment and utensils for cleanliness and operability.
        b. Clean, rinse and sanitize all product contact surfaces, equipment and utensils, including coolers.
                 c. Document, sign and date in Operations Log.

4. SSOP: Daily Operational Sanitation Maintenance

      A. Frequency: each day of poultry processing.
      B. Person responsible: Producer-processor or designee.
      C. Procedure:
        a. Kill Area
          i. If a piece of equipment or a utensil falls to the floor or ground, wash thoroughly.
          ii. Maintain area in a clean and sanitary condition throughout operation.
        b. Processing Area
          i. If a carcass falls to the ground, or comes in contact with unsanitized surface, discard immediately.
          ii. Maintain entire area in a clean and sanitary condition throughout the daily operation
      D. Document required corrective actions, sign and date in Operations Log when daily operation is complete.

5. SSOP for Chill Tank, Giblet Chill Containers & Refrigeration Temperature Monitoring

      A. Frequency: test chill tank slurry and giblet chill containers temperatures once per hour of operation; test and record refrigerator temperature once per day.
      B. Person responsible: Producer-processor or designee.
      C. Procedure:
        a. Use a digital thermometer to test ice slurry temperatures of chill tank and giblet chill containers. The target temperature for chilling is between 33° and 40° F. Add ice as necessary.
        b. NOTE: The chill tank must reduce the temperature of carcasses to 40° F or less within 4 hours of evisceration. Use a digital thermometer to measure internal carcass temperatures of 2% (or a minimum of 5) birds.
        c. NOTE: Giblets must be chilled to 40 °F or below within two hours of slaughtering the birds
        d. Use a digital thermometer to test pre-chill tank water. Add cold water frequently to maintain as cool as possible. Ice water slurry is not required.
        e. Use a max-min thermometer to measure refrigerator storage temperatures. NOTE: You must hold fresh product at 33°- 40° F during storage and transit. Stored at these temperatures, product shelf life is 4 days. Freeze or discard product if held for more than 4 days.
        f. Maintain Farmers’ Market cooler temperatures at 33° – 40° F for fresh product. Record cooler temperatures at start and end of the day.

6. SSOP: Post-­‐Operational Sanitation Schedule

      A. Frequency: each day, after poultry processing
      B. Person responsible: Producer-processor or designee.
      C. Procedure:
        a. Kill Area
          i. Pick up feathers & other matter; deposit into receptacle for inedible material.
          ii. Briefly pre-rinse all dirty areas with warm water; start the process at the top and work all material down to the floor.
          iii. Apply detergent as directed.
            1. Rinse all equipment from top to bottom.
            2. Inspect and re-clean any missed areas.
            3. After cleaning/rinsing work areas, apply sanitizer to all contact surfaces.
            4. Squeegee standing water to the floor.
        b. Processing Area
          i. Pick up any pieces of bones, fat, meat or other matter and deposit into container for inedible material.
          ii. Disassemble all equipment and place parts in their designated tubs.
          iii. Briefly pre-rinse all soiled areas with warm water. Start the process at the top and work all material down to the floor.
          iv. Apply approved soap as directed.
          v. Rinse all equipment from top to bottom.
          vi. Inspect and re-clean any missed areas.
          vii. After equipment and work areas have been cleaned, apply sanitizer to all contact surfaces.
          viii. Squeegee any standing water on floor to drainage areas.
          ix. Remove, clean and sanitize any waste conduits or drains.
          x. Apply edible oil to all surfaces that are subject to corrosion.

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Introduction

The following Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP’s) describe what you need to do to“manufacture” safe and wholesome food for your customers. Your own “processing environment” extends well beyond a mobile unit or your own poultry processing equipment to your whole farm. It includes the people and the buildings, grounds, equipment and conditions on your farm site. The following GMP’s address all of these areas. They are designed to help you create a processing environment that allows for the safe and sanitary processing of a potentially hazardous food.

1. Provide Training for Processing Personnel

Design and implement an effective training program in which all those who assist in processing of poultry understand personal hygiene and sanitary product handling procedures.

2. Establish Health & Hygiene Policies for Processing Personnel

Make certain that you and your personnel have the knowledge, skills and attitude necessary to protect your poultry products from contamination by food handlers. This is especially important because poultry products support the rapid growth of microorganisms and are recognized as a “potentially hazardous food.” Consider attending a ServSafe® or similar food safety training program to insure that you are well informed about safe food handling.

Your Personnel Health & Hygiene Policies and training program must address:

      A. Personal Health and Cleanliness. Personnel should be dismissed from the processing environment if they:
        a. Have a food borne illness.
        b. Show symptoms of a stomach or intestinal illness or jaundice.
        c. Have a sore throat or temperature.
        d. Have an infected wound or cut.
        e. Live with or are exposed to a person who is ill.
        f. Personal Cleanliness. You and your personnel must discuss the critical importance of general personal cleanliness. Ideally, you and they shouldmshower and shampoo before work. (Dirty hair, for example, is a prime source of pathogens.)
      B. Hygienic Hand Practices. Hand washing is the most important aspect of personal hygiene for food handlers. Train personnel to follow these steps:
        a. Wet hands with running water as hot as you can comfortably stand it (at least 105° F) and apply soap. Vigorously scrub hands and arms for at least ten to fifteen seconds. Pay special attention to cleaning between fingers and under fingernails.
        b. Rinse thoroughly under hot running water.
        c. Dry hands with a single use paper towel.
        d. Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and to open the bathroom facility door.
      C. Wash hands frequently when handling live or processed poultry or viscera, as well as before starting work and after:
        a. Using toilet facilities.
        b. Handling processing by-products or trash.
        c. Touching hair, face or body, including an open sore.
        d. Sneezing, coughing or using a tissue.
        e. Handling chemicals that might affect food safety.
        f. Touching dirty clothing, work aprons, work surfaces or anything else that could contaminate hands, such as unsanitary equipment, work surfaces or cleaning tools.
      D. Gloves, if used, should be disposable and changed when they become soiled or torn, before changing tasks, and at least every four hours during continued use. Hand dips are optional but not required. Nail polish should be prohibited; nails should be clipped short.
      E. Proper Work Attire – You and your processing personnel should:
        a. Wear clean clothing. If possible, change into clean clothes at the processing site.
        b. Wear a clean hat or other hair restraint. Hair restraints serve two purposes: they keep you from touching your hair and keep your hair away from food. Personnel with long beards should wear beard restraints.
        c. Remove jewelry from hands and arms. Jewelry provides a good host site for pathogens and may pose a hazard when working around equipment.
        d. Wear appropriate, clean boots or close-toed shoes with non-skid soles. Consider providing step-in shoe sanitizing “stations” at points of entry to the processing area.

3. Create & Maintain a Clean Processing Environment

Establish grounds and building maintenance practices that provide a clean and wholesome processing environment.

    A. Set up or arrange your site to allow easy and direct movement of your birds to the holding area and the processing area. Clean and disinfect poultry transport coops before and after use, Plan for easy and direct movement of chilled, packaged carcasses to your on-site refrigerated storage areas.
    B. Maintain the following areas in a clean, well-drained condition and free of litter:
      a. Poultry holding facilities and adjacent areas.
      b. The processing equipment location (including water and electric hook up).
      c. Buildings or sheds used for: storage of processing/handling supplies, equipment and finished product (i.e., refrigeration or freezing, and adjacent areas).
      d. Facilities used by personnel for personal hygiene (i.e., toilets, handwashing, supplies and clothing) and adjacent areas.
      e. On-site areas used for processing waste management (i.e., fields or pastures used for wastewater disposal and compost areas used to process solid wastes).
    C. Frequently inspect all outside areas of your site for trash, blood, feathers, fecal material, etc., all of which must be promptly and properly removed and disposed of.
    D. Keep trashcans, if any, tightly covered.
    E. Maintain adequate dust control throughout your site.
    F. Keep the buildings and sheds you use for storing processing supplies and product, and for maintaining personal hygiene of your personnel, in good, easily “cleanable” repair.

4. Control Pests: Inside & Outside

Install and maintain adequate pest control measures throughout your processing environment.

    A. Keep all areas free of harborages for rodents; maintain “clean zones” in and around all storage and processing areas.
    B. Install measures to prevent wild birds, domestic and wild animals, and insects from entering your processing environment
    C. Prevent wild birds and other pests from nesting in the processing environment
    D. Inspect all areas prior to processing dates for presence of rodents and all other pests
    E. Establish and maintain rigorous on-farm and farm-to-farm bio-security policies and practices.

5. Control Access

Place signs around your site to provide strict access control in your processing environment. Discourage non-personnel from entering your poultry rearing areas (a biosecurity issue) and processing environment in general, and do not permit them on the mobile unit or on-farm processing area when in use. Limit access to poultry holding areas, processing areas, and on-site storage/refrigeration areas to trained personnel during processing operations.

Personnel should not move back and forth between the slaughter and evisceration areas, between the processing area and poultry holding and on-farm refrigeration/storage areas, or out of and back into the processing environment without removing gloves and aprons when leaving, and without washing hands upon return. Prohibit smoking, eating, drinking, and chewing gum and tobacco in the processing environment when processing is taking place.

6. Provide & Protect Potable Water

Provide a supply of safe-to-drink, potable water that is sufficient (quantity and pressure) to support all processing, chilling, cleaning, sanitizing and personnel hygiene needs, including ice manufacture. (Sources of potable water include municipal water, private wells that are properly managed and regularly tested; closed portable water containers filled with potable water and bottled drinking water.) In addition:

    A. Provide hot water (105° minimum) for personal hygiene (including hand washing) and equipment cleaning (150° minimum).
    B. Provide approved, food-grade quality hoses and pipes for all water used for processing, cleaning and personal hygiene.
    C. Install and maintain measures to prevent contamination of water used in processing, cleaning and personal hygiene; prevent cross-contamination between potable and non-potable water with water system backflow prevention devices (air gaps, vacuum/pressure breakers or check valves).

7. Maintain & Securely Store Processing Equipment & Utensils

Maintain your processing equipment and utensils in good condition, so that they can perform effectively and can be easily cleaned and sanitized. Store them securely when not in use.

    A. Conduct pre- and post-operation inspections of all processing equipment and utensils, checking for cleanliness and signs of rust, wear, damage or other defects.
        Your equipment inspection checklist should include:
          a. Transport Coops
          b. Killing cones
          c. Scalder and plucker
          d. Knives and other implements and utensils
          e. Evisceration and work tables
          f. Chilling and holding tanks; ice containers; processing waste collection tubs
          g. Cleaning and sanitizing equipment
          h. Hoses, water and propane lines and connections, water backflow devices, electric outlets and wiring, propane tanks, etc.
    B. Repair serious defects and/or perform necessary maintenance before processing begins and prior to storage.
    C. Store all equipment and utensils in good conditions in clean, secure storage areas, to prevent damage or contamination of any kind.

8. Provide Secure Storage for Processing Supplies & Materials

Store all supplies and materials used in cleaning, sanitizing, packaging and labeling in clean, secure storage areas, to prevent damage or contamination of any kind. Keep cleaning and sanitizing agents in clearly labeled, secure containers; keep separated from supplies that may come in contact with food.

9. Manage Processing Wastes

Your plan should describe the steps you will take to manage processing wastes in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. It will insure that:

    A. Wastewater, such as water from chilling, cleaning with approved soaps, and rinsing, is properly collected and land applied on biologically active farm hayfields or pastures in a manner that precludes erosion and functions as a safe and appropriate crop nutrient. Such fields or pastures must be located at least 200 feet from any surface water or wells.
    B. Solid processing waste, such as poultry feathers, blood and viscera, is properly collected, transported and incorporated into an actively managed agricultural compost pile or windrow. Your proposed compost “recipe” must support active composting, including appropriate bulking materials, moisture content and C:N ratio.
    C. Trash, such as discarded containers for supplies, damaged packaging materials and disposable gloves, is properly collected, contained and removed from your processing environment.

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Limited provisions of the Poultry Product Inspection Act (PPIA) apply to poultry growers who slaughter no more than 1,000 poultry in a calendar year for use as human food. A person may slaughter and process poultry that he or she raised on his or her premises and they may distribute such poultry without mandatory inspection when the following five criteria are met [PPIA Section 464(c)(4) “Section 15 (c)(4)”4; Title 9 CFR §381.10(c)].

Criteria

1. The poultry grower slaughters no more that 1,000 healthy birds of his or her own raising in a calendar year for distribution as human food;
2. The poultry grower does not engage in buying or selling poultry products other than those produced from poultry raised on his or her own farm;
3. The slaughter and processing are conducted under sanitary standards, practices, and procedures that produce poultry products that are sound, clean, and fit for human food (not adulterated);
4. The producer keeps records necessary for the effective enforcement of the Act [Title 9 CFR 381.175]; and
5. The poultry products do not move in commerce. (In this context, “commerce” is defined as the exchange or transportation of poultry products between States, U.S. territories (Guam, Virgin Island of the United States, and American Samoa), and the District of Columbia) [PPIA Section 453; Title 9CFR §381.1(b)].

Notes

If any of the five criteria are not met, the owner of the poultry is not eligible for this exemption. Records necessary for the effective enforcement of the Act include slaughter records and records covering the sales of poultry products to customers. USDA/FSIS or State employees review such records to determine compliance with the requirement of the sale of no more than 1,000 poultry in a calendar year.1 See Appendices A and B in this Guide for sample logs.

The Act does not exempt any person slaughtering or processing poultry from the provisions requiring the manufacturing of poultry products that are not adulterated and not misbranded. Thus, all businesses slaughtering or processing poultry for use as human food, including exempt operations, must produce poultry product that is not adulterated or misbranded.2 This exemption is one of the most important for small-scale poultry farmers. It permits a poultry raiser to slaughter and process their own birds on their own premises for marketing within their state as human food without federal inspection as long as the number of birds does not exceed 1000 chickens (or equivalent) within one calendar year. For the purpose of this exemption, one turkey is equivalent to four chickens. This specific exemption restricts where and how this processed poultry can be marketed and has specific labeling requirements.

This exemption is per “farm” and not per farmer. If a number of farmers or family members operate on a given location known as “a farm”, only 1000 birds in total are allowed from this farm for the exemption. Each farmer or family member raising birds on a particular farm is not entitled to the 1000 bird exemption. If any farm is found to produce more than 1,000 chicken or 250 turkeys (one turkey equals 4 chickens for this exemption) it is a violation of the exemption. In these cases, either a NYS Article 5-A License for the processing facility or USDA inspection will be required.

Sales

Federal legislation does not specify where birds slaughtered and processed under the 1000 bird exemption can be marketed other than to specify that they cannot be marketed across state lines. Instead, the federal government leaves it to the states to legislate any further restrictions on where these birds can be marketed. Currently, New York has no formal legislation limiting the marketing of these birds. However, NYSDAM released guidelines in 2009 indicating that farms operating under the 1000 bird exemption should maintain control of their product up to the end consumer and limit sales to their on-farm outlet, roadside stand or farmers’ market stall; i.e. not to hotels, restaurants, or institutions. (Note: As of June 2012, New York State Department of Agriculture and Market’s Division of Food Safety & Inspection is seeking to enact state legislation limiting the sale of birds slaughtered under this exemption to their farm stand or store or from the farm’s stall at a farmers’ market – i.e. all sales must be to the end user. Until or unless that legislation is enacted, the federal legislation technically stands.)

Both state and federal officials require that poultry product entering interstate commerce must be inspected and passed. Poultry slaughtered and processed under the 1,000 bird exemption is not inspected by NYSDAM or USDA therefore these products cannot cross state lines.

The farmer must keep flock records, slaughter records and sales records of poultry products sold to customers (i.e., sale receipts) to verify that they are staying under the 1000 bird limit. The poultry raiser can only process poultry that they have raised. They cannot buy or sell any poultry products other than those from poultry of their own raising.

All the slaughter and processing must be done on farm. The equipment used may be owned, rented or provided in the form of a Mobile Poultry Processing Unit (MPPU).

Product Description

Common Name: Chicken, Duck Geese, Turkey – Fresh or frozen, whole or parts, raw poultry. As of May 2012, parts from the same slaughter/processing batch can be grouped for sale, i.e. a bag of wings.
How Sold: Fresh or frozen. If fresh, product must be picked up within 4 hours of slaughter by consumer or held at less than 41° F for no more than four days.
Uses: Ready to cook carcasses/parts.

Packaging Requirements

All packaging materials in direct contact with food must be safe for their intended use under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). Poultry products may not be packaged in a container that is composed of any substances that may adulterate the contents or be injurious to health. Only FDA approved food grade packaging is allowed. It is the farmer‘s responsibility to see that approved food-grade packing materials are used.

Proper wrapping and rapid freezing contribute to a longer lasting quality product. The goal is to prevent moisture loss from the meat (freezer burn) and keep air out. Packaging options for poultry include: freezer paper, tray wraps, plastic wraps, barrier films and meat trays, and heat-shrink bags that are not vacuumed. Cryovac packaging (also known as reduced oxygen packaging or vacuumed sealing), is not allowed under this processing exemption.

Labeling
New York State has adopted the USDA FSIS Mandatory Labeling Requirements. The following items are required to be on the principal display panel (the main label) for all sales of meat or poultry, or meat or poultry products sold in New York.

• Product name (example- Whole Chicken, Chicken Breast, Whole Turkey with Giblets)
• Inspection legend and establishment number- For poultry processed under the 1000 bird exemption, this does not need to be stated as the farm or product is not inspected. The label must include the statement: Exempted — P.L. 90-492.
.• Net weight statement- This includes packed on date, sell by date, price per pound, and net weight. Frozen meat does not require a sell-by date. Products can be sold by the package or by the pound. If sold by the pound the net weight must be on the package and the price per pound price must be posted for all consumers to see. Digital scales suitable for commerce are required for sale by the pound. The Department of Weights and Measures will need to certify the scales used in the business. Scales are sealed and a sticker is adhered showing their expiration date. A small fee is charged for the inspection.
• Address line- This must include the name and address of the farm.
• Handling statement- FSIS expects all poultry sold in commerce to bear safe handing instructions. Producers operating under the 1000 bird exemption must use a modified safe handling instructions label that denotes processed under Exempt P.L. 90-492. Nutrition facts are not essential for raw (fresh or frozen) poultry. However, if a farmer makes a nutritional claim in any way, then s/he must provide a nutritional label.

Processing Guidelines

Water Used in Processing & Sanitation
All water used in processing, cleaning and sanitation, in chilling tanks and ice manufacture, and in any other aspects of the production of whole raw poultry carcasses shall be potable. Private water supply shall be tested annually to determine potability.

Cleaning & Sanitation Agents
Approved sanitizing agents (soaps and detergents) for use on food contact surfaces must be used in prescribed concentrations and methods.

Equipment Maintenance Agents
Any agents used in equipment maintenance must be food grade, including any lubricants applied to equipment surfaces subject to corrosion after final cleaning, rinse and sanitation. This applies whether such equipment is rented on a MPPU or owned by the producer and used in the production of raw poultry carcasses,

Environmental Considerations
The on farm processing of poultry whether utilizing MPPU or farm owned equipment must be managed in a manner that protects the environment, including surface and groundwater, and soils.

“Guidance for Determining Whether a Poultry Slaughter or Processing Operation is Exempt from Inspection Requirements of the Poultry Products Inspection Act”: Poultry Exemptions Under the Federal Poultry Products Inspection Act

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The purpose of this NYS On-Farm Poultry Slaughter Guidelines is to provide processing and handling recommendations to NYS producers who process and sell less than 1000 chickens or 250 turkeys under the Producer/Grower – 1000 Bird Limit Exemption. The goal is that products offered for sale are wholesome and processed under clean and sanitary conditions, and that the operation itself does not result in environmental harm.

Consumer interest in locally raised pastured poultry is high, and many small-scale farmers are working to meet this demand. One challenge these farmers encounter is that there are no federally-inspected slaughterhouses in NY that will accept these birds, and state-inspected plants and mobile poultry processing units are few and far between. So most small commercial producers take advantage of federal legislation allowing producers raising less than 1,000 chickens/year (or less than 250 turkeys) to sell poultry they raise, slaughter and process on their own farm in uninspected facilities.

The next problem the small-scale poultry processor faces is getting farm insurance coverage, particularly product liability insurance. As of June 2012 there are no known cases of food borne illness traced back to a small-scale producer slaughtering birds in uninspected on-farm facilities. But insurers are understandably nervous about covering these operations, especially as they have increased in number in recent years, leading insurers to feel that their risk exposure is greater. This guide is part of a strategy to properly train poultry producers in the regulations and food safety best practices for processing their poultry on-farm. It was developed at the suggestion of a major farm insurer, and should result in fewer insurance coverage denials for small-scale farmers processing their poultry on-farm.

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This Guide represents the hard work of a group of people dedicated to ensuring that small-scale farmers in NYS are able to continue producing and selling high-quality, safe food to their eager customers.

Special thanks to Lynn Bliven, Ag & Natural Resources Team Coordinator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties, for her leadership on this project.

Thanks also to Clarence Davis, NYS Department of Ag & Markets, for his assistance on interpreting and clarifying the regulations and policies, and to Tatiana Stanton, Senior Extension Associate at Cornell University, for her persistence in gaining that clarity.

We are also grateful to Farm Family Insurance Company for funding the first round of hard copies of this guide, making it possible to distribute it at poultry processing trainings around the state.

This guide presents the best information available as of July 2, 2012. While we don’t expect the best practices for food safety to change over time, the specifics about how and where a farmer may sell their poultry in NYS may change. Please consult the NYS Department of Ag and Markets if you have questions about what you are or are not allowed to do.

The most up-to-date version of this Guide will always be available online at: https://nebeginningfarmers.org/publications and at http://www.smallfarms.cornell.edu/resources.

General questions about this Guide may be directed to the Cornell University Small Farms Program:
Erica Frenay
ejf5@cornell.edu
607-255-9911

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