Online Bulk Sales & Online Stores
Selling online is a new market for many meat producers due to the closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional restrictions on labeling, transportation, and processing depend on the market channel.
General guidance on how, where, and when to sell in all markets can be found from NC Cooperative Extension, which has local offices in all 100 counties in the state. This Cooperative Extension article outlines primary considerations for meat, dairy, and eggs for small farmers.
Free Platform Promoting Bulk Meat Sales
NC Choices has partnered with Cornell Cooperative Extension to launch MeatSuite.com, an online selling platform that is free to farmers to encourage online bulk sales of freezer trade meats. More information about the bulk buying process can be found here. The MeatSuite site, training videos, and more can be found here.
NC Choices offers resources for marketing and developing your niche meat business in a number of markets here. There are also dozens of resources on niche meat processing for poultry and red meats available here, including videos, how-to guides, and templates.
Can I ship meats? How? Where can I find packing materials to ship meats?
Both state and federally inspected meats can be shipped and sold via internet. You can ship or mail meats out of the state if your meats are processed in a federally inspected plant. State inspected meats can only be shipped or mailed within the state.
Frozen meats can be safely shipped by US Mail, UPS, FedEx and other private carriers by using overnight or 2nd Day shipping. Meats must be packed in a Styrofoam cooler to keep meats frozen. They must also be packed with dry ice or frozen ice bricks to keep the inside of the shipment cold. Regular ice will not maintain safe product temperatures.It’s important that the meat has been completely chilled all the way through the internal temperature before shipment. Typically, ‘safe’ entails the product be chilled to an internal temperature of 40 degrees or less. The package must also be properly labeled as “Perishable” and “Keep Frozen”. For more details on how to properly pack perishable shipments, contact the United States Postal Service or the shipping company directly.
You can arrange pick-up services with most private shipping companies like UPS or FedEx. They may be able to provide you with shipping materials, but you will need to supply your own dry ice which can be purchased from local suppliers.
Note of Disclaimer: All efforts were made to provide accurate and precise information pertaining to the laws and regulations surrounding the sale and processing of poultry and of red meats in NC. Due to the changing nature of the regulatory system, it is important to verify the accuracy of these statements with the responsible regulatory agency, NC Department of Agriculture Meat and Poultry Inspection Division.