USDA FSIS to host webinars for mobile slaughter units

By Christopher R. Raines

As part of the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” effort, USDA FSIS will be conducting two webinars about mobile slaughter units (MSU) this month. A MSU is a self-contained slaughter unit and interest in them is growing nationwide as small farmers are trying to market meat from their livestock either “locally” or “directly.”  Pertinent to Pennsylvania’s farmers, there will be a webinar specific to poultry MSUs (PA has a unique abundance of USDA-inspected red meat slaughter facilities compared with other states).  The webinars will highlight inspection issues and other concerns, including Rural Development loans for potential MSU operators.

Red Meat MSU Webinar:  Wednesday, January 20, 2010; 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET

Example of a MSU

Poultry MSU Webinar:  Thursday, January 21, 2010; 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. ET

In regard to MSUs, it’s important to keep in mind that they generally represent only one step of the process of converting livestock into meat – slaughter.  Though they are local options, they may not offer any greater control over product quality or safety compared with traditional slaughterhouses.