Frequently Asked Questions about Poultry or Rabbit Exemptions - Meat Safety
This page attempts to answer some common questions we receive from producers with grants of Poultry/Rabbit Exemption (PRE). In addition to this guide we recommend that all producers obtain a copy of our Consumer Guide.
What can I slaughter under a PRE grant?
Only poultry and rabbits may be slaughtered and/or processed under a PRE Grant. Poultry is defined as a live or dead domesticated bird. Ratites are not considered poultry. 25 TAC 221.12(b)(25), 25 TAC 221.12(b)(21)(E).
Can ducks be slaughtered under a PRE grant?
Yes – Chickens, ducks, geese, guineas, and squabs are considered poultry with regards to PRE grants. 9 CFR 381.1(b).
Can quail be slaughtered under a PRE grant?
No – quail are defined as domesticated game birds and are not considered to meet the definition of poultry. 9 CFR 381.1(b).
If I hold a PRE grant, can I slaughter someone else’s poultry or rabbits for them?
No, The establishment owner holding a PRE grant may only slaughter or process poultry or rabbits of his/her own raising on his/her own property with his/her personal distribution of the carcasses and/or parts to retail customers, restaurants, or other retail establishments. 25 TAC 221.12(b)(21).
If I hold a PRE grant, can I slaughter and process poultry and/or rabbits for my own personal use?
Yes, State law allows for a personal use exemption as described in HSC 433.006.
May an establishment with a PRE grant sell live chickens and/or live rabbits in addition to slaughtered chickens and/or rabbits?
The establishment may sell live chicks or breeding stock. The establishment may not sell any other live chickens or live rabbits. Among other conditions, the establishment may not sell other poultry or rabbit products. In other words, no live animals can be bought or sold for slaughter by an establishment holding a PRE grant. Live animals may only be bought or sold as babies or as breeding stock. 25 TAC 221.12(b)21(B).
To slaughter and/or process poultry and/or rabbits with a PRE grant, do I have to have a building? Can I bleed and/or pick outside?
There is no regulation that states a holder of a PRE grant must slaughter and/or process poultry and/or rabbits inside a building. However, in the State of Texas, very low volume poultry/rabbit slaughter operations must be maintained in a sanitary condition. Part of maintaining sanitary conditions is the prevention of windblown contamination, regardless of weather conditions. This may be extremely difficult to do without a fully enclosed facility. Each operator shall comply with all requirements of 9 CFR 416.11-416.16, adopted under 221.11 of this title. 25 TAC221.14(c)(3).
Who can the holder of a PRE grant sell products to that were produced under the PRE grant?
An establishment owner holding a PRE grant may distribute carcasses and/or parts to retail customers, restaurants, or other retail establishments. Carcasses and parts therefrom that are prepared under a PRE grant to be sold through an off premise retail outlet, shall be packaged and the container marked with the slaughterer’s name, address, and the term “Exempted P.L. 90-492” in letters at least one-quarter inch in height. 25 TAC 221.12(b)(21) and 25 TAC 221.14(c)(5).
Does a PRE granted establishment have to get their label approved through the Texas Meat Safety Assurance Unit?
No, labels used in PRE granted establishments do not require approval. However, carcasses and parts therefrom that are prepared under a PRE grant to be sold through an off premise retail outlet, shall be packaged and the container marked with the slaughterer’s name, address, and the term “Exempted P.L. 90-492” in letters at least one-quarter inch in height. 25 TAC 221.14(c)(5).
Poultry/Rabbit Exempt (PRE) Grants and Custom Exempt (CE) Grants
Can I hold both a PRE grant and a CE grant?
Yes. An establishment may hold both a PRE grant and a CE grant. However, no establishment with a PRE grant may slaughter poultry or rabbits under their CE grant. In addition, no other poultry and/or rabbit products may be sold by the establishment (with the exception of live babies or breeding stock). CE granted establishments may still slaughter animals other than poultry and rabbits under their CE grant. Poultry Products Inspection Act, 25 TAC 221.12(b)21(B).
Does a CE granted establishment that wishes to slaughter poultry and/or rabbits have to obtain a PRE grant?
The slaughter of poultry and/or rabbits under a CE grant or a PRE grant are mutually exclusive activities. A CE granted establishment that wishes to slaughter poultry and/or rabbits under the rules of CE slaughter does not need to obtain a PRE grant. Any establishment that wishes to conduct PRE operations must obtain a PRE grant. Any establishment that holds a PRE grant is prohibited from conducting CE operations involving poultry and/or rabbits or poultry/rabbit products. Poultry Products Inspection Act, 25 TAC 221.12(b)21(B).
How do I obtain a PRE grant?
Guidance on the application process may be found in the MSA Consumer Guide, Chapter 2: The Application Process.
What is a SSOP?
SSOP stands for Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures. This is a written plan used by the establishment to ensure and monitor sanitation in the establishment and ensure the production of a wholesome, unadulterated product.
How do I develop a SSOP?
Guidance for the development of an SSOP can be found in the MSA Consumer Guide, Chapter 5: Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP).
- MSA Consumer Guide
- 25 TAC §221.12 - Meat and Poultry Inspection
- 25 TAC §221.14 - Custom Slaughter and Processing; Very Low Volume Poultry/Rabbit Slaughter Operations
- 9 CFR 416.11-416.16
- HSC 433.006 - Personal Use Exemption
- The Poultry Products Inspection Act
Texas Meat Safety Assurance Unit
8407 Wall Street
Austin, TX 78754
Phone: (512) 834-6760
Fax: (512) 834-6763