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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What must I do to sell meat and/or poultry products to the public?

The answer depends upon the nature of the business: If you are going to sell meat and/or poultry products wholesale, you will need a license from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. If you are going to slaughter livestock or poultry, other than your own livestock on your own property, you will need a license from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Note: "Wholesale" refers to a transaction where you sell the product to someone who then sells the product to the public, or where they use your product in the production of a product for sale to the public. 

Meat and/or poultry products that are sold retail must be prepared from meat that originated from an "approved source." Evidence that a meat or poultry product comes from an approved source is the presence on the product of a state (in the shape of Illinois) or federal (circle) mark of inspection.

2. Can I sell inspected meat and/or poultry products that I produced in my home?

No. Meat and/or poultry products sold to the public, whether wholesale or retail, shall not be produced in a residence.

3. Can I slaughter and process my own animals?

Yes. A "Producers Exemption" is included in the Meat and Poultry Inspection Act. It exempts you from the requirements for inspection when slaughtering your own animal, on your own property, for consumption in your household. The producer/owner must own the animal for 30 days prior to slaughter.

4. What does "amenable" mean?

The term "amenable" means that the animal species or products derived from those species are subject to inspection. There are some species that are amenable to state regulations, but not to federal regulations, e.g. domesticated rabbits.

5. What are the differences between a Type I and a Type II facility?

See the Comparison chart.

6. What constitutes a "Custom Operation"?

A "Custom Operation" is one in which a person or entity offers slaughter and/or processing services to the public for a fee. The animal to be slaughtered or the meat to be processed belongs to the customer, not the establishment. After the services are rendered, all of the resultant material must be returned to the owner of the animal or altered in an approved manner to prevent its use as food.

7. Does a custom operation have to be licensed?

Yes. As a Type II Establishment with the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

8. If I have my animal slaughtered under inspection, can I have the carcass cut up at my local meat market?


9. Must I have my deer processed at an inspected establishment?


11. What can I do if I feel I've been discriminated against by the Illinois Meat and Poultry Inspection Program?

Any person who believes he or she, or any specific class of individuals, has been subjected to discrimination by the Illinois Meat and Poultry Inspection Program or believes the Program is otherwise in noncompliance with applicable civil rights requirements may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). A complainant has 180 days from the date of the alleged discriminatory action or the time that they became aware of it to file a program discrimination complaint with USDA.

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Director, Center for Civil Rights Enforcement
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-9410
Telephone: (866) 632-9992 (Voice and TDD)
Federal relay (800) 877-8339
Spanish relay (800) 845-6136