What is Custom Exempt Processing?

A custom exempt meat processor is defined in State and Federal law as a processor that does not require continuous inspection because they only process meat for the owner of the animal. The meat or poultry cannot be sold and can only be consumed by the following:

  • The owner of the animal
  • The owner’s immediate family
  • Non-paying guests

Hamburger Patties

Custom processed meat and poultry must be labeled with "NOT FOR SALE". Businesses that operate under this exemption are inspected by the State Inspection Program on a regular basis. However, inspections of these operations are conducted less frequently than operations under continuous inspection. Custom exempt processors are expected to meet the same requirements for sanitation and construction as State and Federal plants must meet.

Starting a Minnesota Custom Exempt Meat Plant

Learn the basics of planning a custom exempt processing operation with the Starting a Minnesota Custom Exempt Meat Plant manual, and review the checklist for a summary of start-up requirements.

Supplemental Reading: Red Meat Slaughter and Processing

The following table lists recommended reading for topics important to red meat slaughter and processing. Unless otherwise indicated, these resources are available from the MDA. To request copies, call the Dairy and Meat Inspection Division at 651-201-6300.



Humane Handling and Slaughter

  • Humane Handling and Slaughter of Livestock

Pathogens, Mold, and Other Contaminants

  • Controlling Mold in Meat Processing Plants
  • Controlling Foodborne Pathogens in Red Meat Slaughter Operations

Specified Risk Materials (SRMs) and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE/Mad Cow Disease)

Facility Design

Farm Slaughter of Livestock