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Animal Health

Animal Health Inspections include:

Livestock Identification

A brand inspection is required when cattle change ownership,leave the state, leave a designated modified inspection area, enter a registered feedlot, prior to release from a public saleyard, prior to harvest or prior to movement from a quarantined premise.

Brand inspection is also required for hides and carcasses.

Evidence of owner ship of an animal or hide may include any of the following:

  • Recorded brand registered in the name of the person in possession of the animal of hide
  • Brand Inspection Certificate
  • Bill of sale from the owner of the brand on the animal of hide
  • An unbranded animal or hide requires a bill of sale that includes a description of the animal of hide
  • Dairy Exemption Number

Meat, Poultry and Egg Safety

The Meat and Poultry Inspection Branch (MPI) licenses and inspects the following meat and poultry establishments that are exempt from USDA inspection:

  • Retail meat processors who prepare meat or poultry products by curing, smoking, drying, or rendering or who cook pork products for retail sales only, except products of fallow deer, which can be transported and sold in commerce.
  • Custom Livestock slaughter plants that slaughter cattle, sheep, swine, goats and fallow deer raised or purchased live by owners. The meat from cattle, sheep, swine and goats is to be used by the animal's owner, members of the owner's household, nonpaying guests and employees. It cannot be sold. Fallow deer meat can be transported and sold in commerce. For home slaughter see Livestock Identification.
  • Poultry plants that slaughter species not subject to USDA inspection, such as rabbit, quail, partridge, and other domesticated fowl.
  • Retail poultry plants that sell live poultry and slaughter them for customers.
  • Non-retail poultry plants that slaughter or process less than 20,000 ostrich, emu, squab, chickens, ducks, geese and guineas a year, or fewer than 5000 turkeys.

The Branch trains, licenses, and evaluates Livestock Meat Inspectors (LMIs ) who inspect livestock in licensed custom livestock slaughterhouses, or inspect meat and poultry products in licensed retail meat processing establishments. MPI does the same regarding Poultry Meat Inspectors (PMIs ) who inspect poultry and rabbits in licensed poultry plants. Processing Inspectors (PIs ) inspect at meat processing establishments. LMIs, PMIs and PIs also enforce requirements for sanitation, pest exclusion, humane slaughter, inedible/condemned material control, marking and labeling, and record-keeping in licensed plants.

The Meat and Poultry Inspection Branch licenses and inspects the following:

  • Collection centers for temporary storage of animal carcasses or packinghouse waste before transport to a licensed rendering plant,
  • Dead animal haulers who transport carcasses of dead livestock and horses,
  • Renderers of animal tissue into inedible industrial fats, oils, and other products,
  • Pet food processors who prepare fresh or frozen raw meat products for pet food,
  • Pet Food Importers of fresh or frozen raw meat, horsemeat, poultry or by-products for pet food.

The Branch registers and monitors transporters of inedible kitchen grease.

MPI also reviews for approval meat inspection systems of states and foreign countries desiring to ship slaughtered non-amenable species to California.

We provide inspection of slaughtered domesticated rabbits, ratites and other species shipped to California from other countries.

MPI reviews sanitation and records of custom exempt establishments (locker plants that cut, wrap, and process meat from farm killed livestock).

The Branch conducts compliance investigations and seeks prosecution for violations of the Food and Agricultural Code pertaining to meat and poultry slaughter, processing and inedible kitchen grease.

Milk and Dairy Food Safety

The Milk and Dairy Food Safety Branch (MDFSB) ensures that milk, milk products, and products resembling milk products are safe and wholesome, meet applicable microbiological and compositional requirements, and are properly labeled.

MDFSB provides training and supervision for local Approved Milk Inspection Services to develop statewide uniformity. We inspect dairy farms and milk processing plants; and take samples of milk and milk products to assure consumer safety. We also ensure that tests used to determine the basis of payment for milk are accurate. We also evaluate dairy farms, milk plants, and laboratories for the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) for dairy products in interstate commerce, and provide product grading service for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)