USDA TO HOST RED MEAT MOBILE SLAUGHTER UNIT INFORMATION SESSION
WASHINGTON, June 11, 2010 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today announced it is hosting a red meat mobile slaughter unit information session on June 24. The goals of this information session are to educate farmers, ranchers and processors on how to set up mobile slaughter units, receive the federal grant of inspection and meet USDA food safety requirements. The session is being held in response to interest in USDA's efforts to support local/regional slaughter through the "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" initiative.
"This session will educate small producers and processors on establishing mobile slaughter units and how to ensure the safety of the products so that they can receive the USDA federal mark of inspection," said Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Jerold R. Mande.
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.
The red meat mobile slaughter unit information session will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center in Boonsboro, Md. Livestock for these mobile units include cattle, hogs, goats and sheep.
FSIS officials will highlight how to apply for the federal grant of inspection and discuss inspection issues unique to mobile slaughter units. The information session will also include presentations by other USDA agencies and the University of Maryland on how to market small and very small producer's grass fed beef products, how producers can become certified "USDA Organic" through the Agricultural Marketing Service's National Organic Program, and a review of federal grant and loan options. To view the meeting agenda, 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 help desk by toll-free telephone or by email. The help desk is open from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. EDT, 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.
USDA's 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative emphasizes the need for a fundamental and critical reconnection between producers and consumers. The effort builds on the 2008 Farm Bill, which provides increases and flexibility to USDA programs in an effort to revitalize rural economies through the promotion local food systems. Aimed at strengthening the connection between farmers and consumers, the initiative also increases local market access for farmers, and expands access to healthy food for all Americans.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).