Red Meat and Poultry Inspection

Training Opportunity

July 15 & 16, 2024: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Training Course - Priority Deadline to Register is June 1, 2024.

Heidi conducts sanitary inspection on a bandsaw

Sanitary inspection on a bandsaw

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About the Maine Meat and Poultry Inspection Program

The Maine Meat and Poultry Inspection (MMPI) program exists to protect the health and welfare of consumers by ensuring that livestock used in the production of meat and poultry products are humanely handled, disease-free, and that the resulting products distributed by Maine inspected establishments are wholesome, not adulterated, and correctly labeled and packaged. The program, under a Cooperative Agreement with the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), must implement inspection activities that are at least equal to that of the inspection activities of FSIS. MMPI started daily inspections on June 16, 2003. The objective of the Meat and Poultry Inspection program is to assist Maine's very small to medium sized livestock and poultry producers, by providing an avenue for their product to enter state commerce. This, coupled with timely, local decision-making will build on the success of the current industry while promoting additional business within the state. If you are interested in state inspection, or have any questions regarding the information presented on this website, please call: (207) 287-3841.

General Information

For licensing requirements please contact Michelle Newbegin: (207) 287-3841, michelle.newbegin@maine.gov

Maine Meat and Poultry Slaughter and Processing Facilities

Custom Poultry Processing Exemption or Custom Red Meat Exemption (slaughter and/or cut-wrap, smoking etc)

The intent of the Custom Red Meat Exemption or the Custom Poultry Exemption is to provide a means for a slaughterhouse/red meat processor or poultry processor to offer the service of slaughter and/or cut-wrap, smoking, processing, etc. to individuals that do not intend to sell the product and will be taking the product home for consumption by their family, friends and non-paying guests. The products will be marked "NOT FOR SALE". It is the goal of Quality Assurance and Regulations to help the custom operator understand and implement good food safety and sanitation practices. There is no registration fee associated with the custom exemption, however an semi-annual water test for coliforms and nitrates is necessary. Please read the information in the documents provided below. There are sample recordkeeping documents, the guideline field inspectors use to verify the correct operation of your facility when they visit for your periodic review and an educational powerpoint presentation highlighting operational sanitation. If you are providing or wish to provide custom services, please complete the online registration or fill out and print the registration form below and submit to:

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Division of Quality Assurance and Regulations
28 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0028

Poultry Exemption - Commonly known as the "Fewer than 1,000 bird exemption"

The intent of the fewer than 1,000 bird exemption is to provide a means for a small grower to process whole birds on the farm for local distribution. It is the goal of Quality Assurance and Regulations to provide support and education that will encourage good sanitary practices on the farm and a supply of wholesome, locally grown whole birds to the consumer. There is no registration fee associated with the fewer than 1,000 bird exemption. Please read the information in the documents below if you are raising fewer than 1,000 birds/year, AND you only want to sell the product within the State as whole poultry product (that is not cut up in halves, quarters, parts). If you decide to use the Fewer Than 1,000 Bird Exemption, please complete the online registration, or fill out and mail the registration form below and submit to:

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Division of Quality Assurance and Regulations
28 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0028

You will be contacted by a field inspector in your area, who will help you plan a poultry processing area on your farm that meets your needs.

Poultry Exemption - Commonly known as the "Grower Producer Fewer than 20,000 bird exemption"

The intent of the fewer than 20,000 bird exemption is to provide a means for a small grower to process whole and cut up birds on the farm for local distribution. This exemption allows the grower to process birds in a commercially licensed facility without being under inspection each time birds are slaughtered and/or processed. It is the goal of Quality Assurance and Regulations to help the producer understand and implement good food safety and sanitation practices.

Read the information in these documents provided below if you are raising fewer than 20,000 birds/year (even if you raise less than 1,000 birds), AND you want to sell the product retail and wholesale within the State as whole, halves, quarters, parts, ground, pies and other types of poultry products.

Poultry Exemption commonly known as the "Small Enterprise Fewer than 20,000 bird exemption"

The intent of the small enterprise exemption is to provide a means for a small poultry slaughter/process facility to raise birds, purchase live birds or dressed poultry in a combination that number fewer than 20,000 birds to be slaughtered and processed for local distribution in the form of whole or cut up birds. This exemption allows for the processing of birds in a commercially licensed facility without being under inspection each time birds are slaughtered and/or processed. It is the goal of Quality Assurance and Regulations to help the producer understand and implement good food safety and sanitation practices.

Read the information in these documents provided below if you are raising fewer than 20,000 birds/year (even if you raise fewer than 1,000 birds) AND you want to sell the product retail and wholesale within the State as whole, halves, quarters and parts (no ground, pies and other types of poultry products).

Rabbit Processing

Read the information in these documents provided below if you are raising rabbits for meat with the intention to sell the product, or you are processing rabbits for someone who intends to sell the product. If you register to be exempt from licensure, Chapters 361, 332 and 358 will apply to your operation, and you are limited to the sale of whole rabbits that you raised yourself only. If you choose to be licensed for rabbit processing, Chapters 332, 343 and 358 apply and you may process rabbits for yourself and others, and may sell whole rabbits, rabbit parts and rabbit products such as pot pies or stews.

To register, fill out and submit the Fewer than 1000 Rabbits form below and mail to the department on the address on the form.

To obtain licensure, fill out and mail in the Food and Fuel License application below and or contact (207) 287-3841 for assistance.

Maine Exempt Facilities

Civil Rights

As a Cooperative Partner with USDA-FSIS, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, is committed to fair and equal treatment of all of its customers.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and the Maine Red Meat and Poultry Inspection Program is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Read the USDA Non-Discrimination Statement.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) seeks to inform customers of federally funded programs of their rights in the event they believe they have been subjected to discrimination by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Conservation. The following “And Justice for All” poster provides the USDA nondiscrimination statement and complaint filing procedures. "And Justice for All" Poster (PDF)

Accessibility

MMPI headquarter offices provide reasonable accommodation and accessibility for people with disabilities. Please contact the state ADA coordinator at (207) 592-2087 or by email at railey.b.guthrie@maine.gov for more information. Visit State of Maine Relay for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for information about the TTY Maine Relay 711 resource.

Limited English Proficiency Information

Requests for interpreter services for any of the documents on this webpage can be made by calling the Division of Quality Assurance and Regulations (QA&R), (207) 287-3841. QA&R will set up a 3rd party call between the interpreter, LEP person and QA&R-MMPI personnel, for review and discussion of any critical information. In addition, an "I Speak" poster is displayed in the reception area of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry - Division of Quality Assurance & Regulations-Maine Meat and Poultry Inspection (DACF-QAR-MMPI) and in each of the Maine Meat and Poultry Inspection establishments, where recipients of and applicants for inspection services may visit.

For your information, our Limited English Proficiency Plan and the "I Speak" poster can be reviewed in the following links.