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    The Meat Safety Assurance Unit is within the Division for Regulatory Services.
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GRANT OF INSPECTION OR EXEMPTION

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Meat Safety Assurance Unit

The following is information on obtaining a Grant of Inspection or Exemption from the Meat Safety Assurance Group (MSA).

This is an equal opportunity program. If you believe you have been discriminated against because of race, color, national origin, age, sex, or disability, contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication and Compliance, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410; or call (866) 632-9992 (toll free), (202) 260-1026, (202) 401-0216 (TDD), or (800) 877-8339 (TDD toll free).

Determination of Inspection Requirement. An individual who contemplates engaging in a business of slaughtering livestock and/or processing of meat or poultry or meat or poultry food products should furnish information relative to the nature and volume of the operations to the Meat Safety Assurance Unit, MC 1872, Texas Department of State Health Services, P. O. Box 149347, Austin, Texas 78714-9347, or by visiting the MSA web site at: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/msa. The MSA Central Office will inform the applicant whether the proposed business is required to have State inspection by return/mail/email to the address that the applicant provides.

Types of Grants of Inspection. DSHS issues three different Grants of Inspection. A Grant of Inspection is an authorization from DSHS to engage in a meat or poultry related business. A Grant of Inspection, sometimes referred to as full inspection, is required for operations that slaughter and/or process livestock for intrastate commerce. Individuals or businesses that slaughter and/or process livestock for the owner of the livestock, for the personal use of the owner, are required to obtain a Grant of Custom Exemption. Individuals that produce low volume poultry or rabbits and wish to slaughter and process them for sale are required to obtain either a Grant of Poultry/Rabbit Exemption or a Grant of Inspection.

Application for Texas Meat and Poultry Inspection or Exemption

See below for information about the different types of grants of inspection.


Information About an Application for Grant of Inspection

Individuals or firms desiring to obtain a Grant of Inspection must have:

  • facilities suitable to meet regulatory sanitation performance standards;
  • written sanitation standard operating procedures (SSOP) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans;
  • and slaughter establishments must have written testing procedures for Escherichia coli Biotype 1 (E. coli);
  • and establishments that produce certain Ready To Eat products must have a plan to prevent product adulteration by the pathogenic environmental contaminant Listeria monocytogenes.

Applicants must submit a completed application and a plot plan drawing of their facility showing the official premise location to the Meat Safety Assurance Unit, MC 1872, Texas Department of State Health Services, P. O. Box 149347, Austin, Texas 78714-9347.

1. Sanitation Performance Standards

Section 416.1,Title 9 Code of Federal Regulations (9CFR) states that, "Each official establishment must be operated and maintained in a manner sufficient to prevent the creation of insanitary conditions and to ensure that product is not adulterated." The Sanitation Performance Standards Compliance Guide issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is an excellent document to use as a guide in meeting the performance standards and should be used throughout planning, construction, and operation of inspected meat and poultry establishments. The document may be obtained via the Internet at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/frpubs/sanitationguide.htm.

2. Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP)

Regulations require that meat and poultry establishments develop, implement, and maintain written standard operating procedures for sanitation (SSOPs). SSOPs must describe all procedures an establishment will conduct daily, before and during operations, to prevent direct contamination or adulteration of product(s). SSOPs must describe which procedures will be conducted before the start of operations and those that will be conducted during operations. SSOPs should include an inspection checklist and a corrective action record to document daily the procedures conducted and to document any corrective actions taken in response to observed deficiencies.

3. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)

Regulations require meat and poultry establishments to take preventive and corrective measures at each stage of the food production process where food safety hazards are likely to occur. This is accomplished by developing and implementing HACCP into the operation process. Regulations require each establishment to conduct, or have conducted for it, a hazard analysis, which includes a flow chart that describes or diagrams the steps of each process and product flow in the establishment, and develop and implement a HACCP plan that controls each hazard identified. The person developing and reassessing the HACCP plan must have successfully completed a course of instruction in the application of the seven HACCP principles to meat or poultry product processing. The International HACCP Alliance web page, http://haccpalliance.org, lists currently scheduled courses. The various meat processing associations may have information regarding availability of training or be able to recommend HACCP trained consultants to develop the plan. Regional MSA staff are also available to help direct you to training courses or materials.

4. Escherichia coli (E. coli) Sampling Program

Section 310.25(a) (for livestock) and Section 381.94(a) (for poultry), Title 9 Code of Federal Regulations (9CFR) require that all slaughter establishments operating under a Grant of Inspection must develop and implement a written E. coli sampling program. The program must describe the procedures for collecting and submitting samples for E. coli testing and must identify the establishment employee designated to collect the sample. The procedures must address the location where the sample will be collected, how randomness of sampling will be achieved, and how samples will be handled to ensure sample integrity.

5. Listeria monocytogenes Control

Section 430.4(a), Title 9 Code of Federal Regulations (9CFR) states that, “Listeria monocytogenes can contaminate RTE {Ready to eat} products that are exposed to the environment after they have undergone a lethality treatment…” Establishments that produce certain Ready To Eat products must have a plan to prevent product adulteration by the pathogenic environmental contaminant L. monocytogenes. The establishment can select one of three alternatives from the regulation to meet the requirement.

6. Labeling and Marking

Meat and poultry products produced under inspection must bear the official mark of inspection. Prior to using a label, mark, or device that will be applied to inspected meat or poultry products, the establishment representative must obtain approval from DSHS by submitting a completed application for label approval (Z-1) and a label sketch to the inspector in charge (IIC) or other DSHS-MSA representative.

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Information About an Application for Grant of Custom Exemption

Individuals or firms desiring to obtain a Grant of Custom Exemption must have (1) facilities suitable to meet regulatory sanitation performance standards and have (2) written sanitation standard operating procedures. Applicants must submit a completed application to the Regional DSHS Meat Safety Assurance Group office.

1. Sanitation Performance Standards

Section 416.1,Title 9 Code of Federal Regulations (9CFR) states that "Each official establishment must be operated and maintained in a manner sufficient to prevent the creation of insanitary conditions and to ensure that product is not adulterated." The Sanitation Performance Standards Compliance Guide issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is an excellent document to use as a guide in meeting the performance standards and should be used throughout planning, construction, and operation of inspected meat and poultry establishments. The document may be obtained via the Internet at:: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/frpubs/sanitationguide.htm

2. Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP)

Regulations require that meat and poultry establishments develop, implement, and maintain written standard operating procedures for sanitation (Sanitation SOPs). SSOPs must describe all procedures an establishment will conduct daily, before and during operations, to prevent direct contamination or adulteration of product(s). SSOPs must describe which procedures will be conducted before the start of operations and those that will be conducted during operations. SSOPs should include an inspection checklist and a corrective action record to document daily the procedures conducted and to document any corrective actions taken in response to observed deficiencies.

3. Labeling and Marking

Meat and poultry products produced under a grant of custom exemption must be clearly marked "NOT FOR SALE" and with the name of the owner of the carcass or product.

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Information About an Application for Grant of Poultry/Rabbit Exemption

Individuals or firms desiring to obtain a Grant of Poultry/Rabbit Exemption must have written sanitation standard operating procedures. Applicants must submit a completed application Regional Texas Department of Health Meat Safety Assurance Division office.

1. Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP)

Regulations require that meat and poultry establishments develop, implement, and maintain written standard operating procedures for sanitation (Sanitation SOPs). SSOPs must describe all procedures an establishment will conduct daily, before and during operations, to prevent direct contamination or adulteration of product(s). SSOPs must describe which procedures will be conducted before the start of operations and those that will be conducted during operations. SSOPs should include an inspection checklist and a corrective action record to document daily the procedures conducted and to document any corrective actions taken in response to observed deficiencies.

2. Labeling and Marketing

Meat and poultry products produced under a grant of poultry/rabbit exemption and intended to be sold through locations other than the farm where the livestock is produced, must be clearly marked with the producer's name and address and the term "Exempted P.L. 90-492."

This is an equal opportunity program. If you believe you have been discriminated against because of race, color, national origin, age, sex, or disability, contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication and Compliance, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410; or call (866) 632-9992 (toll free), (202) 260-1026, (202) 401-0216 (TDD), or (800) 877-8339 (TDD toll free).

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Last updated December 07, 2010