Although the flesh of healthy living poultry is practically sterile, when the bird is killed many factors can contribute to contamination of the carcass including improperly designed and constructed slaughter facilities. This chapter provides guidelines for facilities for poultry slaughter establishments for you to consider in building or modifying your slaughter facilities. If you slaughter small animals such as rabbits or migratory fow lunder voluntary inspection, use this chapter for guidance. See Chapters 1 through 8 for general information which applies to all official meat and poultry establishments.

1. Holding Sheds or Coops

When building holding sheds or coops for poultry, consider the following guidelines:

  • A minimum of 30 foot candles of lighting must be provided to facilitate an temortem inspection.
  • The holding sheds should be weather tight.

2. Docks for Receiving and Hanging Live Poultry

<span”> Consider the following guidelines to prevent dust, feathers, and other obnoxious substances from entering areas where edible products are being prepared, handled, or stored:

  • The live hanging dock needs to be physically separated from these areas. The separation should be accomplished by full height impervious walls with self-closing impervious doors, and openings limited to that necessary for poultry conveyor systems.

3. Slaughter Area

Consider the following guidelines for the slaughter area to minimize risk of contamination to products:

  • The slaughter area (including stunning, bleeding, picking, scalding, and eviscerating operations) should be separated from those areas of the establishment where edible products are prepared or stored to minimize the risk of contamination.
  • The blood in the slaughtering area, especially the stunning and bleeding area, should be contained in as small an area as possible.

4. USDA Post-Mortem Inspection Station

There are four systems of post-mortem inspection: Traditional Inspection, the Stream lined Inspection System, the New Line Speed Inspection System, and the New Turkey Inspection System.

Each of the systems has mandatory requirements to minimize the risk of contamination to products and to promote efficient inspection. However, with the exception of the lighting requirements, there are no facilities guidelines for these post-mortem systems.

5. Facility Guidelines for Poultry Inspection Stations

Note: There are no facility guidelines for Traditional Inspection System facilities except for lighting.


The conveyor line should be level for the entire length of the inspection stationXXX
The vertical distance from the bottom of the shackles to the top of the adjustable inspection platform,
when it is set in its lowest position, should be a minimum of 60 inches (150 cm)
There should be a minimum of 8 feet (2.5 m) of space along the conveyor line for one inspection
station and 16 feet (4.9 m) for two inspection stations
There should be a minimum of 42 feet (12.8 m) of space along the conveyor line for three inspection stationsX
There should be a minimum of 6 feet (1.8 m) of space along the conveyor line for the establishment
employee presenting the birds
There should be a minimum of 4 feet (1.2 m) of space for inspector and a minimum of 4 feet (1.2 m) of space for the establishment helper along the conveyor lineXXX
There should be selectors or ‘‘kick-outs’’ with birds on shackles with 12 inch (30 cm) centers (two inspection stations on line) X
There should to be selectors or ‘‘kick-outs’’ with birds on shackles with 18 inch (45 cm) centers (three inspection stations on line)X
A distortion-free mirror should be located at each inspection station which is: at least 3 feet (.9 m)
wide and 2 feet (.6 m) high; adjustable between 5 inches (12.5 cm) and 15 inches (38 cm) behind
the shackles; positioned in relation to the inspection platform so that the inspector is positioned op-
posite it 8 to 12 inches (20.3 cm to 30.5 cm) from the downstream edge; installed so that guide bars do not extend in front of the inspection mirror; and illuminated by a light which is positioned
above and slightly in front of the mirror to facilitate the illumination of the bird and mirror surface
There should be a slip-resistant inspection platform with a 42 inch (105 cm) high rail on the back
side and with 1⁄2 inch (4 cm) foot bumpers on both sides and front
There should be an inspection platform with a minimum length of 4 feet (1.2 m) and minimum width
of 2 feet (.6 m)
There should be an adjustable inspection platform that easily and rapidly adjusts a minimum of 14
inches (35 cm) vertically while standing
A trough or other facilities extending beneath the conveyor where processing operations are con-
ducted from carcass opening to trimming should be provided which is wide enough to prevent trim-
mings, drippings, and other debris from accumulation on the floor or platform; and has enough
clearance between suspended carcasses and the trough to prevent contamination of carcasses by
A conveyor line stop/start switch should be provided at each inspection station within easy reach of the inspectorXXX
A minimum of 200-foot candles of shadow-free lighting with minimum CRI value of 85, which can be met by deluxe cool fluorescent lighting, must be providedXXX
Online hand rinsing facilities with continuous flow water withineasy reach should be provided for
each inspector and establishment helper
Online hand rinsing facilities with continuous flow water within easy reach must be provided for each establishment presenterX
Receptacles for condemned carcasses and parts should be provided at each inspection stationXXX
Hang-back racks should be provided and located within easy reach for establishment helpersXXX