Meat Inspection Stamps

May 10, 2016

The Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1906 made inspection mandatory for all meat that crossed state lines. The Wholesome Meat Act of 1967 required the inspection of meat sold within a state meet inspection requirements at least as stringent of those of the federal system. Federal meat inspection is the responsibility of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), a division of the USDA. State meat inspection is the responsibility of each state’s government with partial funding support provided by the federal government.

 These inspection programs assure that only healthy animals are used for meat and guarantee that facilities and equipment meet sanitation standards. The Meat Inspection Program also includes:

  • Inspection of meat at various stages of processing
  • Temperature monitoring of fresh and cooked meat
  • Control and monitoring of the use of additives
  • Control and monitoring of imported meat

Any time new or revised inspection regulations or labeling rules are considered, they are published in the Federal Register and in the public press. Consumers and industry are given an opportunity to comment on them before regulations are implemented.

A round stamp (made with purple ink) containing an abbreviation for “United states Inspected and Passed” and the official establishment number assigned to that packing/processing plant is placed on each primal cut when it passes federal inspection. The stamp must also be on every packaged processed meat product that has been federally inspected. If a product is packaged in a bod, the inspection stamp is found on the outside of carton and not on the meat.

State meat inspection stamps use purple ink and a symbol that is often the outline of the shape of the state, with the official establishment number within the stamp. Three stamps are illustrated in the figure. The first stamp is used for carcasses, the second is for processed meat and the third is an example of a stamp which is used for state inspection.



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