Meat, Poultry & Egg Safety Branch and their logo

CDFA Meat, Poultry Questions and Answers

Meat and Poultry Processing

A. No, CDFA, MPES only licenses and inspects Meat Processing Establishments that are exempt from federal inspection by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and that prepare meat and poultry products by curing, smoking for preservation, drying, or rendering, for direct-to-consumer sales at the retail level only.

Processing of meat and poultry that will be distributed or sold for resale offsite is regulated by the US Dept of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Services.
A. Yes, to be considered a "Cured" meat product, it must contain at a minimum 120 ppm of Sodium Nitrite. If a curing agent such as Sodium Nitrite in any amount is added to a meat product at less than 120 ppm the product would not be considered a "cured" meat product.
A. No, CDFA, MPES only regulates the processing of meat and poultry products from amenable species, such as cattle, swine, sheep, and goats. Wild game and exotic meat processing are regulated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

Pet Food Processor

A. No, CDFA, MPES only regulates raw and unprocessed pet food products. All processed pet food and treats (e.g., cooked, freeze-dried, dried, semi-dried) are under California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Food and Drug Branch.
A. No, please refer to CDFA, MPES Pet Food Guidelines posted on our website.
A. No, all raw materials and other ingredients used to manufacture raw and unprocessed pet food products must come from an acceptable source recognized by the department.

Custom Livestock Slaughter

A. No, only slaughter performed at MPES licensed Custom Livestock Slaughterhouses (CLS) and by MPES Licensed Mobile Slaughter Operators (MSO) that slaughter cattle, sheep, swine, and goats. The meat from the slaughtered cattle, sheep, swine, and goats is for use only by the animal's owner, members of the owner's household, nonpaying guests and employees; it cannot be sold.

Poultry Slaughter

A. Under the California Food and Agricultural Code, rabbits are classified under poultry. In addition, under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, rabbits are classified as (non-amenable) species and are exempt from the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection.

CDFA, MPES licenses and inspects poultry plants that slaughter (non-amenable) species that don't require federal inspection by the USDA, such as rabbits and small game birds like quail, pheasant, and partridge that may be sold to Household Consumers as well as Hotels, Restaurants, and Institutions (HRI). Any poultry producer of (non-amenable) species which intends to sell their poultry to restaurants, grocery stores, or middlemen, such as distributors, wholesalers, or jobbers, are required to have the poultry slaughtered by a licensed MPES Poultry Slaughter Plant. There are no annual processing limits for state inspected poultry plants that slaughter (non-amenable) species.
A. Yes, CDFA, MPES licenses and inspects Poultry Plants that slaughter amenable species (e.g., chickens, ducks, geese, guineas, squabs) or turkeys as a service for the customer. Non-Retail and Retail MPES licensed slaughter plants that process or slaughter amenable species for Household Consumers, may sell to Hotels, Restaurants, and Institutions (HRI); however, the USDA’s Retail Exemptions Adjusted Dollar Limitations applies. The annual Federal dollar limitations can be found using the link below:

Contact us for more information:
California Department of Food and Agriculture
Animal Health and Food Safety Services: Meat, Poultry and Egg Safety Branch
1220 N Street
Sacramento, California 95814
Telephone: (916) 900-5004
Fax: (916) 900-5334
or send an email to: