Do you want to be a meat or poultry processor?

Small scale poultry and rabbit processing:

Idaho Code requires that all meat and meat products be obtained from regulated meat processing establishments and shall have been inspected for wholesomeness under an official regulatory program.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires poultry inspection under 9CFR 381, but provides an exemption for producers of fewer than 20,000 birds. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is designated responsible for rabbit processing, but gives jurisdiction to the state for intrastate processing and sales, that is if all processing and sales are within Idaho, the health district will be the regulatory agency.

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If you are interested in processing poultry, review the Idaho Poultry Processing Guidelines nd then call your local health district inspector with any questions. If you are interested in processing rabbits, review the Idaho Rabbit Processing Guidelines and then call the Eastern Idaho Public Health (EIPH) inspector with any questions. 

If you intend to process any food product for resale that contains three percent or more meat product (by weight), you will fall under USDA inspection.  This will require you to have a detailed HACCP plan and an FSIS inspector on-site during processing.  For questions about USDA requirements, contact the Small Plant Help Desk at 1-877-374-7435 or email

If you intend to process beef, pork, chicken, lamb, sheep, goats, equines, this must be done under USDA inspection.
If you wish to sell these products retail, you must obtain them from a USDA inspected processing plant, as well as obtain a retail food license from EIPH.

The Idaho Department of Agriculture has published a great resource for anyone looking to Start a Specialty Food Business in Idaho. This booklet contains extensive information ranging from food safety to marketing your business to tax information. I highly recommend reading through this booklet no matter what type of food business you wish to start.