Skip to Main Content

COVID-19 INFORMATION

TDA Licensed Custom Slaughter Operations

Custom slaughter operations offer services for people who want an 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 producer 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.  If a producer wishes to sell meat by the cut, processing and packaging must be conducted at a USDA inspected facility.  The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) inspects and permits custom slaughter facilities in the state. A custom slaughter facility 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. While these establishments are regularly inspected by TDA for overall sanitation, the animals themselves are not inspected for disease. If you are interested in opening a custom slaughter facility in Tennessee, please contact 615-837-5193 or NewFood.Business@tn.gov for more information.