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Custom Slaughter

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture inspects and permits custom slaughter facilities in the state. A custom slaughter facility is a slaughter facility that does not have a state or federal inspector on duty, which means that the meats from these facilities are not considered state- or federally-inspected meats. However these establishments are regularly inspected (by the state) for overall sanitation, but the animals themselves are not inspected for disease. Custom slaughter operations are typically thought to process deer meat for hunters, but they offer services for people who want any animal slaughtered or processed for their own personal use. The meat is cut, packaged, and labeled “not for sale.” These meats are returned to the owner of the animal (who may have bought it from the farmer just before slaughter) and cannot be sold. People who buy "freezer" or "locker" meat from farmers, by buying a live animal, typically arrange for slaughter and processing to be done at a custom facility.