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Meat and Poultry Inspection Bureau

The following facilities information is not to be considered as complete.  These are basic guidelines for informational use only.   Each facility must be reviewed by one of our Supervisory Veterinarians prior to start up, since facility uses and floor plans can vary so widely.  Specific questions and details will need to be examined on an individual basis.    


Adequate space shall be provided in each department so that each operation can be conducted in an orderly and clean manner.  The design should be such that it provides for efficiency of operation.

Plant Drainage

1.      All rooms except freezer and dry storage rooms must have floor drains.

2.      Must have one drain for each 400 sq. feet of floor space.

3.      Drainage lines must have an inside diameter of 4 inches.

4.      Each Drain must have a P, U, or S shaped deep seal trap.

5.      Drainage lines must be properly vented to the outside.

6.      Drainage lines must be equipped with effective rodent screens.

7.      Drainage lines from toilet bowls and urinals should not be connected with other drainage lines until outside the plant.


1.      Must be constructed of durable water-resistant materials.

2.      Must be coved at juncture of floor and walls.

3.      Must not have low spots that collect liquid.

4.      Must be free of cracks and holes.

Interior Walls

1.      Must be constructed of impervious material.

2.      Must be smooth and flat.

3.      Must be free of cracks or holes.

4.      Must be bumpered or curbed where necessary to be protected from damage by carcasses, tubs, carts, etc.


1.      Should be 10 ft. or higher in workrooms.

2.      Must be constructed of impervious material.

3.      Must be smooth and flat.

4.      Must be free of cracks or holes.

Doorways and Doors

1.      Doorways where product moves must be 5 ft. wide.

2.      Doorways where rails pass through must be at least 4- ½ ft. wide.

3.      Doorjambs where rails pass through must be of smooth and impervious material.

Interior Woodwork

Wood surfaces should be painted with a good grade non-toxic oil or plastic base paint, treated with hot linseed oil or with a clear wood sealer.

Stairs (in edible product handling departments)

1.      Must be constructed of impervious material.

2.      Must have solid treads and enclosed risers.

3.      Must have 6-inch side curbs of similar material.


1.      50 candlepower at all inspection and formulation points.

2.      20 candlepower in workrooms.

3.      10 candlepower at shank level in coolers.

4.      20 candlepower in coolers if used for offal or open product.

5.      10 candlepower, 3 ft. above floor in pens, alleys, of area where antemortem is performed.

6.      20 candlepower over entire area of suspect and restraint pen.

7.      Where exposed product is handled, light fixtures must have protective covering, or shielding.


Adequate means for ventilation from ventilating type windows, skylights, or mechanical means such as air conditioning, or a fan and duct system, should be provided in workrooms and welfare areas.


1.      Wall coils or hanging refrigeration must have a drip gutter or impervious material integral with the floor and connected with the drainage system.

2.      Floor-type refrigeration must set within a curbed and separately drained area or placed adjacent to floor drains.

3.      If the facility handles or prepares both cooked and fresh products, separate coolers to provide for strict separation will need to be included to prevent cross contamination of cooked product. 


Equipment used for preparing or storing product must be suitable to its intended use.  It must be of acceptable materials and construction to be easily cleaned and sanitized.  It must not adulterate product, nor constitute a hazard to the health and safety of the inspectors. 

Livestock Pens

1.      Should be large enough to hold the maximum number of animals to be slaughtered in a single day.

2.      Pens, ramps, unloading chutes, and runways, must be paved.

3.      Must have suitable drainage facilities.

4.      Must have suitable suspect pen.

5.      Suspect pen, squeeze pen, and antemortem inspection area must be located under a weatherproof roof.


1.      Cattle bleeding rail must be 16 ft.

2.      Cattle dressing rail must be 11 ft.

3.      Cattle cooler rail must be 11 ft.

4.      Beef quarter rail must be 7-½ ft.

5.      Rails should not be positioned over tables, equipment work areas, etc., and must be at least 2 ft. from all walls or posts.

6.      Hog rail must be 7-½ ft.

7.      Header rail must be 3 ft. from wall and posts.

Processing Area

1.      Should be kept at a temperature of less than 50 F., or establishment must have a mid-shift cleanup.

2.      Must have a sterilizer.

3.      Must have other than hand-operated washbasin, liquid soap dispenser, disposable towel dispenser, and metal receptacle for used towels.

4.      Must have an equipment wash sink to wash utensils and small equipment (this can be located in other than processing area).

5.      Cutting and boning boards must be of approved material, and easily removed for cleaning.

6.      All shelves, storage racks, etc., should be of metal or other approved material and at least

      12 inches off the floor.

7.      Since a thorough cleanup is required when going from "pork" to "beef" when processing, some plants will want to have a cutting and boning table and a saw for both pork and beef, thus eliminating this necessity.

Slaughter Area

1.      Must have a sterilizer.

2.      Must have a viscera truck or pan.

3.      Must have other than hand-operated washbasin, liquid soap dispenser, disposable towel dispenser, and metal receptacle for used towels.

4.      All shelves, storage racks, etc., should be of metal and at least 12 inches off the floor.

Inedible Product Area

1.      Should be suitably located at rear of plant to avoid odors.

2.      If connected to kill floor, must have a self-closing door.

3.      If inedible material is not disposed of promptly, it must be refrigerated.

4.      Means provided for denaturing.

Welfare Area

The establishment must provide an adequate area or room, separate from edible product departments for employee clothes storage and lunch breaks.

Toilet Room

1.      Must be equipped with sanitary flush-type toilet, acceptable foot- or knee-operated washbasin, liquid soap dispenser, disposable towel dispenser, and metal receptacle for used towels.

2.      The door must be self-closing.

3.      If toilet opens directly into a workroom, it must be separated by an intervening vestibule with a self-closing door.  Natural or mechanical ventilator must be provided.

Shipping and Receiving Docks

Adequate dust proof access ways should be available connecting the shipping and receiving area to public streets or highways.



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Mailing Address: IDALS,  Wallace State Office Building,   502 E. 9th Street,  Des Moines, IA 50319:     PH: 515-281-5321
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