Labeling Requirements Under the Short Term Special Exemption for Poultry Operators

  1. All poultry or poultry products produced under exemption must be labeled with the following:
    1. Processor’s name = (in the case of the special exemption whereby someone else can process birds for you, “processor’s name” refers to the owner of the birds)
    2. Address of the processor (in the case of the special exemption, the address refers to the farm address of the owner of the birds)
    3. This statement: “Exempt P.L. 90-492”  (this is known as “Producers/Grower Exemption”)
    4. Safe Handling instructions (see example below) and as shown inAttachment 2 of MPID Notice 6-14
  2. For farmers who are used to processing in an inspected facility, please note that labels used at an inspected facility, such as Foothills Pilot Plant, may not be applied to these products.Those labels bear the Federal Mark of Inspection and other information indicating the birds were inspected by the USDA and are therefore not allowed to be used in processing exempt from federally inspected facilities.  Under the on-farm poultry exemption, birds must be processed in a sanitary manner, but there is no USDA inspector checking the birds for disease.
  3. Special claims such as “local,” “free range,” “raised without antibiotics,” are not permitted on exempt poultry products per MPID Notice 6-14 (Revision 2), “Requirements for the Producer/Grower 20,000 Poultry Exemption”. If poultry producers desire to make any claims about their poultry products, such poultry must be slaughtered and processed at the nearest USDA inspected poultry slaughter establishment.
  4. Printing and Applying Your Label:
    1. If a producer has his or her birds processed under exemption, he or she can print and apply their own labels (see requirements above in #1). Producers can download the Safe Handling Instructions (Attachment 2 of MPID Notice 6-14) to print. If an exempt poultry operator is processing chickens for other producers under the special exemption and they are willing to share their labels, the producer may use the exempt processor’s label and just apply a sticker with their own farm name and address over the processor’s name and address to cover that information.  Exempt poultry operators reserve the right to charge for this service.
    2. Be sure a weatherproof label is applied BEFORE the product is placed in a cooler/freezer. Most labels that are used in office settings (for address labels and such that one can buy at Wal-Mart, Staples, etc.) will not stay affixed when exposed to refrigeration temperatures.

Example of Correct Label

Label example

Additional Resources

NCDA Consumer Services Meat & Poultry Inspection Division

NC Choices Best Management Practices for On-Farm Poultry Processing (PDF)

Small Flock Processing for NC November 2017

Best Practices in On-Farm Poultry Processing Video

Niche Meat Processing Assistance Network (NMPAN) Poultry Specific Resources