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Division of Food Safety and Animal Protection
Bureau of Meat & Poultry

General Information

General Information,   Licenses,  Brokers,  Building Guidelines,   FAQ/Resources
The Bureau of Meat and Poultry Inspection is responsible for administration of the Meat and Poultry Inspection Act which protects the consumer in relation to wholesomeness, deceptive advertising and proper labeling of meat and poultry products. Inspection coverage includes all aspects of intrastate slaughter and processing from ante mortem (before death) inspection through slaughter and processing and to the retail level. The Bureau provided slaughter and/or processing inspection for 279, establishments and exempt poultry raisers during the previous fiscal year. The Bureau also licensed and inspects 506 Meat and Poultry Brokers.

Two State laboratories located in Galesburg and Centralia perform many tests to ensure compliance with the regulations. These tests include analysis for economic wholesomeness, antibiotic residues, as well as testing for harmful food borne bacteria. Laboratory support is provided for veterinarians in their diagnosis of conditions found in livestock presented for slaughter.

The Illinois Meat & Poultry Inspection Act is defined in the Illinois compiled statutes, Chapter 225 Paragraph 650/1 et seq. The Illinois Meat & Poultry Inspection program … “shall comply with bulletins, manuals of procedure and guidelines issued by the United States Department of Agriculture which implement the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Federal Poultry Inspection Act.” (Title 9 Code of Federal Regulations Part 300 et seq. There are three specific types of licenses issued by the Illinois Department of Agriculture Bureau of Meat and Poultry Inspection.

Licenses issued under the Bureau of Meat and Poultry Inspection are renewable annually with an effective date of July 1 and an expiration date of June 30.

The annual fee for each license is $50.00.

The licenses issued by the Bureau of Meat and Poultry Inspection are:

TYPE 1: Establishments issued a type I license shall be permitted to receive live animals and or poultry and/or meat and poultry products for slaughter and processing, under inspection, by Department Personnel. Meat and/or poultry products that are produced, under inspection, and properly labeled are eligible for sale in intrastate commerce.

TYPE 2: Establishments issued a type 2 license shall be permitted to receive live animals and/or poultry and/or meat and poultry products for slaughter and processing as a service only. Animals and poultry and/or animal and poultry products may be presented for slaughter and/or processing by the owner for the owner’s own personal use in his or her household. Meat and/or poultry products processed and/or produced in a type 2 establishment are not eligible for sale in commerce.


“Meat broker”, “poultry broker”, or “meat and poultry broker” “means any person, firm or corporation engaged in the business of buying, negotiating for purchase of, handling or taking possession of, or selling meat or poultry products on commission or otherwise purchasing or selling of such articles other than for the person’s own account in their original containers without changing the character of the products in any way. A broker shall not possess any processing equipment in his or her licensed facility”.

Illinois businesses wishing to become inspected plants must meet specific standards of building construction, sanitation and procedure prior to licensing.

For more information on how to become a licensed Illinois Meat and/or Poultry plant write or contact the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Meat and Poultry Inspection, State Fairgrounds, P.O. Box 19281, Springfield, Illinois 62794-9281 or telephone 217/782-6684.

Meat and Poultry Inspection Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What must I do to sell meat and/or poultry products to the public?
A. The answer depends upon the nature of the business: If you are going to sell meat and/or poultry products wholesale, you will need a license from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. If you are going to slaughter livestock or poultry, other than your own livestock on your own property, you will need a license from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Note: “Wholesale” refers to a transaction where you sell the product to someone who then sells the product to the public, or where they use your product in the production of a product for sale to the public. Meat and/or poultry products that are sold retail must be prepared from meat that originated from an “approved source.” Evidence that a meat or poultry product comes from an approved source is the presence on the product of a state (in the shape of Illinois) or federal (circle) mark of inspection.

Q. Can I sell inspected meat and/or poultry products that I produced in my home?
A. No. Meat and/or poultry products sold to the public, whether wholesale or retail, shall not be produced in a residence.

Q. Can I slaughter and process my own animals?
A. Yes. A “Producers Exemption” is included in the Meat and Poultry Inspection Act. It exempts you from the requirements for inspection when slaughtering your own animal, on your own property, for consumption in your household. The producer/owner must own the animal for 30 days prior to slaughter.

Q. What does “amenable” mean?
A. The term “amenable” means that the animal species or products derived from those species are subject to inspection. There are some species that are amenable to state regulations, but not to federal regulations, e.g. domesticated rabbits.

Q. What constitutes a “Custom Operation”?
A. A “Custom Operation” is one in which a person or entity offers slaughter and/or processing services to the public for a fee. The animal to be slaughtered or the meat to be processed belongs to the customer, not the establishment. After the services are rendered, all of the resultant material must be returned to the owner of the animal or altered in an approved manner to prevent its use as food.

Q. Does a custom operation have to be licensed?
A. Yes. As a Type II Establishment with the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Q. If I have my animal slaughtered under inspection, can I have the carcass cut up at my local meat market?
A. No

Q. Must I have my deer processed at an inspected establishment?
A. No


Persons purchasing a plant that is currently licensed under the Illinois Meat and Poultry Inspection Act, have the right to see any official documentation in the possession of the current plant owner(s), i.e., state reviews, Plant Improvement Program, Program Deficiency Reports (PDR’s), etc., that contain pending plant deficiencies which have not yet been completed. ALL DEFICIENCIES MUST BE CORRECTED AND APPROVED BY THE DEPARTMENT BEFORE A NEW LICENSE WILL BE ISSUED.
  1. An application form must be completed and sent to the Springfield Office along with the $50.00 application fee. The check should be made payable to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Meat and Poultry Inspection.

  2. A meeting should be held with the current owner(s) to review documentation of deficiencies, i.e., Plant Improvement Program, PDR=s, reviews.

  3. Three complete sets of professional quality blueprints drawn to exact scale illustrating the plant and a material list, are required as the first step in the plant-approval process. All items must be addressed before blueprints may be approved. Blueprints should be mailed to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Meat and Poultry Inspection, P.O. Box 19281, Springfield, IL 62794-9281, ATT: Norman Paul. To avoid confusion, it is suggested that blueprints be sent by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested.


  5. Contact should be made with the Regional Administrator in charge of the area in which the plant is located about preparation and approval of labels (Work on the label approval process may be done while any required remodeling/construction is underway). All construction/remodeling must be completed and labels approved before a license can be issued.

  6. A Sanitation Standard Operating Procedure (SSOP) and a HACCP (HAZARD ANALYSIS and CRITICAL CONTROL POINTS) plan must be assembled and verified before the inauguration of inspection.

  7. The final step in the licensing process is a walk-through plant review, by the Regional Administrator and an official from the Springfield Office, to insure that everything has been completed. The Regional Administrator will schedule this.

Failure to complete this licensing process, within a year of the date of application, will cause the application to be deleted from the pending files and considered closed.

References: USDA DIRECTIVE 11, 000.1 ASanitation Performance Standards@, AUniform Standards for Illinois Licensed Plants” (these items may be requested from the Springfield Meat and Poultry Inspection Office).


In an effort to move from an identify and command-based meat and poultry inspection program, to a science-based system, the Illinois Department of Agriculture is now using the USDA FSIS DIRECTIVE 11,000.1 ASanitation Performance Standards@ as a guideline for new plant construction and renovation projects.

USDA FSIS DIRECTIVE 11,000.1, while granting new flexibility in construction and design, places the responsibility in the hands of the owner/operator to show that the building design and building materials used in a licensed plant are conducive to the production of wholesome meat food product(s) that is free of contamination and/or adulteration.

Raw manufacturing meat product and other product components must flow progressively through the plant from the most potentially hazardous area(s) to the least potentially hazardous area(s).

All building materials used on ceilings, walls and floors must be smooth, hard surfaced, easily cleanable, moisture impervious, and free of rust, splinters, etc. Painted surfaces are not recommended, but in the event that they are used, they must be free of any/all problems commonly associated with painted surfaces, such as peeling, flaking, chipping, blistering, etc.

Floors must be sufficiently drained to preclude standing water.

Lighting must be of sufficient intensity for the procedures performed in each area.

Water, both hot and cold, must be furnished from conveniently located outlets in sufficient volume and temperature for the volume and scope of product production.

Airflow must be designed so as to control potentially dangerous air-borne particulate contamination and maintain room temperature(s) within acceptable limits.

Doors must be of sufficient height and width to allow product(s) to pass through without contamination or adulteration occurring.

Properly lighted, adequately heated/ventilated office space must be provided for program employees. Preferably, the program office space shall not be located within the plant’s office. Minimum furnishings should be provided, including a desk, a chair, and/or a lockable filing cabinet.

Professionally prepared drawings are helpful, but not required. However, drawings, specification sheets, and plot plans must be drawn to standards of professional quality.

Drawings, specification sheets, material lists and plot plans must be submitted in triplicate form to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Meat and Poultry Inspection, State Fairgrounds, P.O. Box 19281, Springfield, Illinois 62794-9281.

All drawings, specification sheets, material lists and plot plans MUST BE APPROVED PRIOR TO START UP of any remodeling and/or new construction work.

Upon completion of all the construction/remodeling projects, a review must be scheduled with the Regional Administrator of your area. The Bureau Chief, or his designee, and the Regional Administrator must complete a walk-through review before final approval of your project is granted.

Other Sources of Information

ILLINOIS University of Illinois, School of Veterinary Medicine Illinois Administrative Code Illinois Legislature On-Line Illinois Compiled Statutes Ch. 225 Pag. 650/1 of Seq. FEDERAL Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Federal Register National Agriculture Library United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service

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Copyright © 2001
State of Illinois Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 19281, State Fairgrounds
Springfield, IL 62794-9281
(217) 782-2172
(217) 524-6858 TTY