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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.

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

2.      Each drain must have a P, U, or S shaped deep seal trap.

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

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

5.      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.      Door jambs where rails pass through must be of smooth and impervious material.

Interior Woodwork

Wood surfaces should be painted with a good grade nontoxic 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.


Adequate lighting must be provided to all areas where edible product is examined, processed, or stored; where equipment and utensils are washed; in dressing and restrooms; and in hand washing area.  Where exposed product is handled, light fixtures must have a protective covering, or be shielded.


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 of impervious material integral with the floor and connected with the drainage system.

2.      Floor-type refrigeration must set within 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. 


1.      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. 

2.      Slaughter, scalding, and picking operations should be separate from eviscerating, chilling, and packaging operations.  In most cases, separate rooms must be provided.

Poultry Holding Area

Pens, ramps, holding areas must be paved and suitably drained.  If the holding area is enclosed, adequate ventilation should be provided and outside doors screened.

Slaughter Area

1.      Must have a sterilizer.

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

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

4.      Scalding Tanks must be drained and cleaned daily.  Clean (potable) water must be used at the start of each day's operation.

The scalding operation results in continuous contamination of the scald vat water with feces, feathers, and dust.  Thus, a continuous replacement of the scalding water is necessary to prevent a buildup of such contamination.  One quart of water overflow per bird per minute is recommended.  The local inspector may determine if more or less is needed.

An overflow pipe at least 2 inches in diameter should be provided on the scald vat.  The overflow outlet should be at the surface of the water in the scald vat so that feathers and other material collected on top can run off.

To prevent polluted water from being tracked into other parts of the establishments, overflow water from scalders should be drained directly into or in close proximity of a floor drain.

5.      Mechanical pickers must be constructed for adequate dismantling during cleanup operations. Accumulated feathers interfere with the conduct of operations in a poultry plant and represent an insanitary condition.  Therefore, feathers must be removed from beneath pickers continuously or periodically throughout the hours of operation.  A water-flushed  valley drain may be used to remove feathers continuously.  If a valley drain is not  provided, the feathers must be removed manually.  Perforated, covered containers may be used.

6.      Blood and blood splashing must be confined to as small an area as possible.  It is suggested that bleeding cones or a bleeding cabinet be used which drain into an attached container.  Bleeding cones are desirable because they prevent the birds from fluttering, thus preventing injury and dust movement.

7.      When wax is used in dipping operations, it should be prevented from falling onto the floor to avoid  tracking wax into other parts of the establishment.  Noncorrosive metaldrip  pans may be placed beneath the birds to prevent the wax from falling on the floor.

 In order that the wax be reused, the reclaiming process must be designed to remove feathers, pins, water, and other contaminants from the wax.  Usually reclaiming is  accomplished by heating the wax to temperatures around 265 degrees F. and by straining.  Wax falling onto the floor may  not be reused. 

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.      Bird washing.  After evisceration and before chilling, each bird must be thoroughly washed inside and out with clean water.  This may be accomplished  by drop lines over the eviscerating table with spray-type heads.

8.      Ice.  Water for ice making purposes must be potable.  Ice producing, storing and handling equipment must be inspected for sanitary conditions. 

Water and ice storage must be on the premises, and must be adequately protected from contamination. 

Ice making or storing facilities (storage bins, etc.) should be lined with stainless steel or rust- resistant material.  The metal should be of a sufficient thickness to withstand repeated striking of a shovel without puncturing.  Suitable perforated, rust-resistant, and removable metal drainage plates should be provided at the bottom of the ice storage compartment, and frequently inspected to assure cleanliness.

9.   When birds are chilled in tanks of water or ice and water, the tanks must be overflowed with clean water.  The volume of water used should be sufficient to keep the chill water clean.  Back siphonage must be avoided.  Water lines used for overflowing the chill tanks must not  be suspended in the water unless back siphonage valves are installed in the water lines. 

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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