Regulatory Information Is Simplified in a New UT Extension Publication


Steak Dinner

To help farmers understand and successfully comply with the regulations, the Center for Profitable Agriculture has issued a new publication titled Basic Regulatory Considerations for Retail and Non-retail Meat Sales in Tennessee (UT Extension publication number PB 1829).​ 



SPRING HILL, Tenn. – According to a recent USDA report, US consumer demand for locally raised beef has risen at a rate of 20 percent per year over the past five years. This national trend is also reflected in Tennessee.  An increasing number of the state’s livestock producers are now direct-marketing meat products from their herds in retail and wholesale markets.

While marketing meat locally provides new income opportunities for farmers involved in one of the state’s top agricultural sectors, Chuck Grigsby, a marketing specialist with the University of Tennessee’s Center for Profitable Agriculture, comments that understanding and complying with state and federal regulations can be a challenge to market entry for farmers. “Permits and product labeling requirements may at first overwhelm farmers interested in selling meat products to local consumers,” said Grigsby.

To help farmers understand and successfully comply with the regulations, the Center for Profitable Agriculture has issued a new publication titled
Basic Regulatory Considerations for Retail and Non-retail Meat Sales in Tennessee (UT Extension publication number PB 1829). The publication outlines the steps to obtain the different meat marketing permits available to local producers. Farmers selling meat products directly to consumers at a farmer’s market will need the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) Farm-Based Retail Meat Permit. Meats sold using this permit must be processed and packaged in a USDA inspected harvesting and processing facility, and must display the USDA’s mark of inspection. Also, the producer’s transportation and storage facilities (refrigeration and freezer areas) must be inspected by TDA officials.

If a producer wishes to sell meat through wholesale markets, such as to local grocery stores, the vendor will still need to have his or her meat products processed, packaged and labeled in a USDA-inspected facility. However, for wholesale transactions, the producer should register through the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. For farmers considering advanced, custom-processed meat products like sausages, the TDA-issued Retail Food Store Permit is most appropriate. This meat sales permit is equivalent to the permit under which traditional supermarket meat departments operate.

The publication also provides livestock producers with the regulatory guidelines to conduct live animal sales to consumers using custom harvesting and processing facilities. Products originating from custom processing facilities are labeled “Not for Sale”, and therefore, can only be consumed by the animal owner.

Most recent estimates indicate that there are 12 USDA-inspected harvesting and processing facilities and more than 120 custom harvest and processing facilities in Tennessee. This implies that finding nearby custom harvest and processing facilities in a given producer’s region is much easier and may make live animal sales to consumers a more convenient marketing method.

The publication is the latest in a series of publications about direct-marketing of meat products. Although PB 1829 applies generally to producers of beef, pork, lamb, and goat, publications such as Improving Communications With Your Beef Processor (PB 1820) and How Much Meat to Expect From a Beef Carcass (PB 1822) are aimed specifically toward beef cattle producers adding value to their farming operations.

The Center’s publications and articles are available free of charge online at 
ag.tennessee.edu/cpa/Pages/extensionpubs.aspx. PB 1829 can be accessed at extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/PB1829.pdf. Alternatively, you may contact your local county UT Extension office or the Center for Profitable Agriculture.

The UT Center for Profitable Agriculture is a joint effort of UT Extension and the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. The center supports the efforts of the TDA.

Through its mission of research, teaching and service, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions.
 ag.tennessee.edu

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Contacts:

Chuck Grigsby, Marketing Specialist, Center for Profitable Agriculture, 931-486-2777,
cgrigsby@utk.edu

Rob Holland, Director, Center for Profitable Agriculture, 931-486-2777,
rhollan4@utk.edu

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