Poultry Processing Training Program
If you are interested in using the MPPU on your farm, regulatory agencies require that producers attend a food safety and MPPU operations training to be eligible for a state slaughter license to sell birds direct to consumers. The training requirement will prepare you to complete the application for a special state slaughter license, to approach your local board of health for appropriate approvals, and to operate and manage the MPPU on your farm for direct commercial sale to consumers. In addition to the required training, you are strongly encouraged to volunteer or apprentice on the MPPU with an experienced user before your first scheduled use of the MPPU. Support for this training is provided through a grant from the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program.
In 2013, there will be a multi-phase training and technical assistance program offered to farmers interested in using the MPPU to process and sell poultry direct to consumers. Each training phase is explained in detail below:
Step 1: Apply for your MPPU slaughter license and local town approvals
Step 1: Processing Your Poultry: Logistics, Regulations, and Resources
This workshop will focus on what the Massachusetts poultry grower needs to do in order to legally sell meat through CSAs, farmers markets, directly to consumers or to restaurants. The classroom training will include information on: the logistics and economics of using the MPPU and other processing options; federal, state, and local poultry processing regulations; sanitation and food safety procedures; solid waste and wastewater regulations; certification of flock health; the MDPH slaughter license application process; on-farm equipment needed for appropriate processing; humane processing steps; HACCP plan record-keeping requirements; and preparing for the MPPU use on your farm.
As a follow up to the workshop, individual technical assistance will be provided to farmers who would like guidance in preparing their state slaughter license applications or approaching their local board of health for approvals to use the MPPU on their farm.
If you are interested in using the MPPU and cannot attend Part 1 (Regulatory and Licensing Workshop) of the training series, please proceed with completion of your local town approval and submittal of your state slaughter license application to MDPH. Use the Handbook for Small-Scale Poultry Producer-Processor for self-study. It is recommended to begin the regulatory approval process early in the calendar year to allow sufficient time to receive agency review prior to your first anticipated use of the MPPU. Orientation to the MPPU (required to schedule the unit) is offered once per year in the spring (see Step 2). And if you run into trouble anywhere along the way, don't hesitate to contact Sam Anderson at email@example.com or 978-654-6745—we're here to help!
Step 2: Hands-on Training for Licensed On-farm Poultry Processing
This event is particularly designed for farmers who are moving forward with state licensure for on-farm poultry processing in Massachusetts, either with an MPPU or an approved on-farm facility. In order to receive a new Massachusetts state slaughter license in 2013, you must attend this hands-on training. This training was specifically approved by Massachusetts regulatory agencies to meet the hands-on portion of the slaughter license training requirements, and you will not be required to retake it for five years. (If you are renewing your state slaughter license, the training is not required.) This practical skills workshop will cover: pre-MPPU arrival procedures; positioning and connecting MPPU equipment; pre-process sanitation; HACCP plan record-keeping requirements; processing personnel/labor management; poultry processing demonstration (farmers will be practicing hands-on processing and record-keeping skills); solid waste management; packaging and labeling; post-MPPU sanitation; and follow up record-keeping requirements for license maintenance.
Step 3: Mentoring and On-Farm Practical Experience with MPPU in Production.
All users of the MPPU are subject to MDPH Food Protection Program Inspection during processing. This is especially true of first-time users. It is strongly encouraged that first-time MPPU users (or farmers potentially interested in using the MPPU prior to licensure) gain practical experience in MPPU operations and personnel management beyond the practicum provided in Part 2 of the training series. A list of MPPU farms willing to train new users will be provided to farmers and it will be up to the individual to schedule their own mentoring or volunteer work session(s) to prepare for MPPU use. By mentoring or volunteering on the MPPU at a licensed farm that has experienced the pressure of processing, managing labor, and being observed by public health inspectors, new users will gain invaluable experience to apply to their own operations.
Farm and Food Safety Management Guide
New Entry and the New England Small Farm Institute prepared this Farm and Food Safety Management Guide (pdf) for small-scale poultry producers and processors using a Massachusetts-inspected mobile poultry processing unit or stationary on-farm facility. It includes information and sample documentation to help producer-processors with:
The guide also includes practical resources and sample daily use report logs that producers can print off to use on processing day.
Handbook for Small-Scale Poultry Producer-Processors
New Entry prepared a Handbook for Small-Scale Poultry Producer-Processors (pdf) that describes how to apply for licensure to process poultry using a Massachusetts-inspected MPPU. Producers are encouraged to use the guide to understand basic requirements for MPPU use and licensure. The guide contains:
For questions or clarification about the Handbook, please contact Jennifer Hashley at 617-636-3793 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. For technical assistance in completing your local and state approvals for MPPU use, please contact Sam Anderson at 978-654-6745 or by email at: email@example.com.