In order to sell our meat directly to the customer we follow what is known as “custom exempt” meat processing. The following describes the process. In summary, we sell the live animal to you and you pay the mobile butcher to process it according to what you would like. We can arrange the mobile butcher after a deposit is made on an animal. Typically, we will try to have all of the animals butchered on the same day to save money for the customer on the butchering end.
WSDA Custom Exempt Meat Processing The “custom exempt” meat processing allows producers to sell animals by live weight directly to the end consumer prior to slaughter (i.e., when they are still alive). Under custom exempt processing, cattle, swine, sheep and goat are sold as a whole, half, quarter, eighth or smaller (as long as paperwork supports it being owned by each of the owners before slaughter) for the sole consumption of the owner. Meat is “uninspected” and cannot be resold. Selling meat by the piece is not allowed under custom exempt. All sales, slaughter, and cut and wrap must occur in Washington State. Custom meat animals are required to be slaughtered by people licensed by the WSDA Custom Meat Program. The slaughter may occur on the farm where the animal was raised, if the licensed “custom farm slaughter” has a WSDA licensed custom meat truck. Animals may also be processed at a fixed slaughter facility licensed by WSDA to slaughter meat food animals for the owner (also known as a “Custom Slaughter Establishment”). Carcasses are tagged and delivered to a WSDA licensed Custom Meat Facility for cutting and wrapping, aging, and freezing. Individual customers wanting specific cuts must call this facility with directions on how to cut the carcass. Customers also make arrangements to pick up their meat at the Custom Meat Facility. Custom slaughtered meat is “uninspected” because it is not processed in a USDA inspected facility. All packaged meat must be labeled “not for sale.” Only the owner of the animal (i.e., the meat customer), their immediate family and/or non-paying guests can consume it. Custom exempt meat cannot be sold at farmers markets, to restaurants, or to grocery stores. Likewise, it cannot be donated to food banks. Producers are advised to schedule butcher dates well in advance with their custom farm slaughterer, especially during the busy season (August through November). In addition, producers need to ensure that space will be available for their animals at the cut and wrap facility on the day of slaughter. For a list of WSDA licensed custom slaughter and custom meat processing facilities, contact Food Safety by calling (360) 902-1876 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information is also available at http://www.agr.wa.gov/FoodAnimal/CustomMeats.