Alabama meat inspection

To help ensure that meat and poultry are safe for all consumers, the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries employs 30 inspectors who must be on site for every slaughter, and must visit plants on processing days to check records and sanitation practices.

Most Alabama facilities handle swine, cattle or chickens, while a small number deal with sheep and goats.

Dr. Issac Barrett, director of the Meat and Poultry Inspection division for the Department of Agriculture and Industries says at every slaughterhouse, an inspector examines each animal while they are alive in a holding pen, then each animal’s carcass is inspected one more time following the slaughter. Critical organs, tissues and lymph nodes are checked to ensure that every animal is free of disease.

“Inspectors also verify that all livestock are handled humanely during the slaughter process,” he says. “Animals must be moved from holding pens to the plant in a humane manner, and the animals must be rendered instantly unconscious just prior to slaughter so that they won’t experience pain.”

Dr. Barrett adds that at processing plants, an inspector will also arbitrarily weigh packages to make sure, for example, that a 15-pound package of meat actually weighs 15 pounds.

“The Meat and Poultry Inspection division of the Ag Department is very thorough, and meat processing is well regulated throughout the state,” he says. “Our goal is simple: Make sure all meat and poultry is entirely safe for all Alabama consumers.”

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