Our ever-growing, Frequently Asked Questions page is always here to help you get answers about harvesting, processing, classifications, and more. If you cannot find what you are looking for, please send us a message or call.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) provides this type of inspection. Federally-inspected products can be shipped over state lines and internationally to many countries. Federal inspection requires a HACCP plan, SSOPs, a recall plan, daily inspection of processing facilities, and (for red meat) inspection of each animal before and after slaughter. All retail meat is federally inspected. If you plan to sell your meat products by the piece at the farmers market, a retail store, or your own farm store you will need USDA inspection.
If you are selling a live animal or a share (a half or a quarter), your customer (who is the new owner of that animal) can use a custom-exempt (or “Not For Sale”) service for harvest and processing. Because all RETAIL meat (those being sold in individual cuts) must be federally inspected (USDA), the USDA requires that all non-inspected meat be labeled with “Not For Sale”, meaning these individual cuts may not be further sold. Here at Caledonia Packing we must follow our HACCP plan and SSOP’s for both USDA and custom-exempt services.
The “Hanging weight” or “Hot Carcass Weight” or “On the Rail” are all interchangeable terms. This is the weight of the carcass after harvest and removal of the head, hide, intestinal tract and internal organs. This weight is the calculating number for processing and usually how the farmer calculates the final cost of the livestock share (¼, ½ or whole).
The hanging weight is NOT the yield weight or final weight of product that the customer receives after processing.
This question is hard to answer because it is not possible for any processor to know all the factors surrounding this issue. Like all people are different genetically and have a diverse diet so also do livestock. It is best to ask your farmer what breed you are purchasing, what are the typical yields of that breed. What did the farmer feed that animal?
Please seeto help you make choices about options that will suit you best.