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Meat and Poultry Inspection Division


Our mission is to enforce state and federal laws designed to ensure the meat and poultry products sold to consumers are wholesome, unadulterated, and properly labeled.

The NCDA & CS Meat and Poultry Inspection Division (MPID) is one of 27 state meat and poultry inspection programs.

Our agency receives up to 50 per cent of its funding from the Federal government and operates in an "equal to" status as the USDA, Food Safety Inspection Service. All poultry slaughter facilities in NC are inspected by the USDA, Food Safety Inspection Service. Our agency inspects 186 red meat slaughter and processing facilities and poultry processing companies.

The agency employs approximately 120 personnel including meat and poultry inspectors, veterinarians, compliance officers, supervisory staff, trainers, and office staff.

In 2018, 183 meat and poultry plants under inspection by our agency processed 161,769,924 pounds of red meat and 62,009,104 pounds of poultry. Slaughter inspection was performed on more than 9,328 cattle; 432 calves; 323,438 swine; 7,032 sheep; 16,989 goats; 0 ostrich; 66 bison and 4 water buffalo. Veterinarians condemned 1,028 domestic livestock deemed unfit for human consumption at slaughter.

Our regulatory authority comes from the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) and the Federal Poultry Products Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 451 et seq.) as well as the North Carolina Compulsory Meat Inspection Law and the North Carolina Poultry Products Inspection Law. Federal meat and poultry inspection regulations can be found in 9 CFR Part 300 to end. State regulations are found in North Carolina General Statutes 106-549.15 - 98.

Firms that slaughter animals and/or wholesale meat and poultry products are required to be inspected by either the NCDA Meat and Poultry Inspection Division or the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service.

We only inspect on-site retail sales of meats when establishments under our inspection also operate a retail meat counter at the same location. State and federal regulations require any individual or firm who processes canned meat products for retail or wholesale sale to be under inspection by the US or NC Department of Agriculture.

There are 3 types of inspected establishments regulated by our agency:

(1) Custom Exempt establishments are ones that process meat, poultry and wild game for private individuals only. These facilities are inspected for sanitation, but the meats are not inspected. All product from these facilities must be clearly marked "NOT FOR SALE," identified with the owner's name, and used only for the owner's personal consumption, for his/her family and for his/her non-paying guests. These facilities are inspected at a minimum one time annually, based on past sanitation history. Note, however, that our agency does not regulate facilities that process exclusively game animals such as white tail deer and bear.

(2) State Inspected establishments and (3) Talmadge-Aiken (TA) establishments are inspected daily by a trained Meat and Poultry Inspector. The only difference between these establishments is that the state inspected ones may sell their products in NC only, and the TA establishments may ship product outside NC. Animals slaughtered at these establishments are inspected for disease or abnormalities to include any conditions that would have a negative impact on human health. Any diseased or contaminated parts are removed. Trained veterinarians examine and condemn animals with generalized illness. Meat and poultry products that pass inspection are stamped and/or labeled "Inspected and Passed" and either bear a rhomboid-shaped legend (state inspected) or a round legend (TA inspected). Both state inspected and TA inspected establishments may process custom exempt product including wild game, as described above, provided it is kept separate from inspected product at all times.

Meat Handlers

All persons who deal in meat and poultry products, if not under inspection as described above, are required to register as meat and poultry handlers. Examples of firms required to have meat and poultry handler registration are door to door meat salesmen, farmers who have animals slaughtered and packed at an inspected establishment then sell the meats off their farms, and food warehouses and distributorships that store and transport meat and poultry items. Registered meat and poultry handlers must deal in fully labeled and packaged inspected products. They may not further process or repackage meat and poultry products.


Farmers may slaughter animals of their own raising for use by themselves, their families, and nonpaying guests. Such meats may not be sold into commerce.

Requirements for individuals who slaughter up to 1,000 poultry of their own raising are explained in MPID Notice 5-18. Requirements for individuals who slaughter greater than 1,000 and up to 20,000 poultry of their own raising are explained in MPID Notice 6-18. Individuals who raise and slaughter over 20,000 chickens and/or turkeys of their own raising are required to operate in a state inspected, TA inspected, or federal (USDA, FSIS) inspected facility where each bird is inspected for disease.

Deer and other wild game may be further processed without benefit of inspection. The meats derived from wildlife in North Carolina are not legal to be sold and must be processed for the individual hunter only.

Meat markets operating under county health inspection may wholesale approximately $75,700 worth of certain meat and meat food products and $56,600 worth of certain poultry and poultry food products per year for hotel, restaurant, and institutional use only. (This dollar value varies from year to year based on the Consumer Price Index). Total dollar amount of wholesale sales cannot exceed 25 per cent of the meat market's total sales.

Sandwich Producers

Sandwiches containing meat and/or poultry if made close-faced and sold wholesale or off-site retail are inspected by another branch of the Department of Agriculture - Food and Drug Protection. Their telephone number is 919-733-7366. Open-faced meat and poultry sandwiches and wraps containing meat or poultry if sold wholesale or retail off-site would be required to be inspected by NCDA & CS Meat and Poultry Inspection Division or USDA, Food Safety Inspection Service.

Contact Information:

Meat and Poultry Inspection Division
1001 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1001
919-707-3180 office; 919-715-0246 fax

Dr. Karen Beck, State Director
Rick Phillips, TA Coordinator
Vacant, TA Coordinator

Revised June 2020

NCDA&CS - Meat and Poultry Inspection Division, Dr. Karen Beck, Director
Mailing Address:1001 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-1001
Physical Address: 2 West Edenton Street , Raleigh, NC 27601
Phone: (919) 707-3180; FAX: (919) 715-0246;TA Office: (919) 707-3195

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