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Slaughter and Processing in the United States: Oversight and Requirements

Wednesday, June 3, 2020 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Virtual Event

The processing of livestock- which includes animals such as cattle, sheep, swine, and goats- is governed on a national level by the Federal Meat Inspection Act.  Similarly, the processing of poultry, including chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese is governed by the Poultry Products Inspection Act.  In those laws, USDA-FSIS is given primary authority for oversight of meat products that will be offered for sale.  That authority, however, may be designated to a state agency in those states that chose to apply for such authority, as long as the state requirements are “at least equal to” those enforced by USDA-FSIS.

As a result, state meat inspection programs, in those states that have implemented them, add another layer of laws and regulations to meat slaughter and processing requirements.  The resulting difference between the two approaches is that state inspection programs- with some exceptions- only allow for meat processed in these facilities to be sold within the state while FSIS inspected facilities can export meat to other states.  Further, exceptions and exclusions such as those for custom slaughter plants and small poultry processing facilities may change the processing oversight and requirements even further.

Because of these variations, the requirements that processors must follow differ significantly depending on what services they intend to provide, who their customers are and in what state they operate.  Small differences between processing facilities in the same area, such as one facility offering to smoke meat, can cause significant regulatory and inspection differences between the two facilities.

This webinar will discuss:

  • The general outline of authority for slaughter and processing of meat and poultry
  • The effective differences between state and federal processing oversight, including custom exempt slaughter
  • Proposed federal bills that might change processing requirements in the United States
  • Additional challenges facing small meat processors

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