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News Release

Release No. 0024.10
Contact:
Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

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USDA HOSTS OUTREACH WEBINARS ON MOBILE SLAUGHTER UNITS

WASHINGTON, January 20, 2010 - As part of the USDA "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" initiative, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is hosting two Web outreach seminars today and tomorrow on mobile slaughter units. Amidst heightened interest in building the capacity for slaughter in rural areas, the seminars are meant to educate small and very small operators of meat and poultry establishments about mobile slaughter units' economic potential.

Mobile slaughter units are self contained slaughter facilities that can travel from site to site. Typically, the units provide slaughter services to regional small producers at conveniently located host farms. FSIS-inspected mobile slaughter units provide a feasible option for small livestock producers wanting to provide safe, wholesome meat product to local and interstate consumer markets.

"USDA inspectors are in beef and poultry slaughter and processing establishments every day, enforcing our nation's food safety laws and regulations," said Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Jerold R. Mande. "The web seminars on mobile slaughter will better prepare small and local producers who operate these units to receive the federal mark of inspection and ensure the safety of their product."

Today's Red Meat Mobile Slaughter Unit seminar will take place from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST. A second seminar, Poultry Mobile Slaughter Unit, will take place tomorrow, January 21, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST.

Each seminar will highlight inspection issues unique to both types of mobile slaughter units as presented by industry and Agency experts. The seminars will also include information on USDA Rural Development loan and grant programs available to under-served rural areas. To register and download the presentation before the meeting, go to: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/.

FSIS is committed to working with small and very small plants to help them improve their food safety systems. For more information about assistance that is provided for small and very small plants, contact the Small Plant Help Desk. Inquiries can be made to the small plant help-desk by toll-free telephone or by email. The help-desk is open from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays. To speak to a staff specialist during this time, call 1-877-FSISHelp (1-877-374-7435). Customers may also contact the help-desk by email at InfoSource@fsis.usda.gov.

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