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CDFA Animal Health and Food Safety Services Division

Meat, Poultry & Egg Safety Branch and their logo

Meat & Poultry Program


The Meat, Poultry and Egg Safety Branch (MPES) licenses and inspects the following meat, poultry and egg production establishments that are exempt from federal (USDA) inspection:

  • Meat Processing Establishments that prepare meat and poultry products by curing, smoking for preservation, drying, or rendering for retail sales only, except products of fallow deer, which can be transported and sold in commerce.
  • Custom Livestock Slaughterhouses that slaughter cattle, sheep, swine, goats and fallow deer raised or bought live by owners. The meat from cattle, sheep, swine and goats is used by the animal’s owner, members of the owner’s household, nonpaying guests and employees. It cannot be sold. Fallow deer meat can be transported and sold in commerce. For home slaughter see Livestock Identification.
  • Poultry Plants that slaughter species that don't require (non-amenable) federal inspection: rabbits; small game birds such as quail, pheasant, and partridge, or
    • Retail Poultry Plants that sell live poultry and slaughter them for customers or
    • Non-retail Poultry Plants that slaughter or process fewer than 20,000 poultry of all amenable species (chickens, ducks, geese, guineas, squab and ratites) or fewer than 5,000 turkeys a year.
  • Pet Food – the Branch licenses the following:
    • Pet Food Slaughterer’s that slaughter livestock or poultry for use in pet food.
    • Pet Food Processors that prepare fresh or frozen pet food from meat and poultry products.
    • Pet Food Importers that import “not for human consumption” meat and poultry products into California to be used for, or in the manufacturing of pet or zoo animals.

The Branch trains, licenses, and evaluates Poultry Meat Inspectors (PMIs) who inspect poultry and rabbits in licensed poultry plants, Livestock Meat Inspectors (LMIs) who inspect livestock in licensed custom livestock slaughterhouses and Processing Inspectors (PIs) who inspect meat and poultry products in licensed retail meat processing establishments. PMl’ss, LMl’ss and PI’ss also enforce sanitation standards, pest control, humane handling and slaughter, inedible/condemned material control, marking and labeling and record-keeping requirements in licensed plants. The Branch provides Import Inspection of slaughtered non-amenable poultry species shipped to California from other countries and reviews for approval or disapproval inspection systems of other states and foreign countries desiring to ship slaughtered non-amenable poultry species to California.
The Branch reviews sanitation and records at Federally Exempt Establishments (locker plants that cut, wrap and process meat from farm killed livestock; custom livestock slaughterhouses; poultry plants).
The Branch conducts Compliance Investigations into alleged violations of sections of the Food and Agricultural Code pertaining to the above activities.