Meat and Poultry Inspection

Photo of 2 Meat Inspectors examining a beef carcass The Bureau of Meat and Poultry Inspection is responsible for administration of the Meat and Poultry Inspection Act which protects the consumer in relation to wholesomeness, deceptive advertising and proper labeling of meat and poultry products. Inspection coverage includes all aspects of intrastate slaughter and processing from ante mortem (before death) inspection through slaughter and processing and to the retail level. 

The Bureau provided slaughter and/or processing inspection for 243, establishments and exempt poultry raisers during the previous fiscal year.  The Bureau also licenses and inspects around 675 Meat and Poultry Brokers and 53 refrigerated warehouses.

The Illinois Meat & Poultry Inspection Act is defined in the Illinois compiled statutes, Chapter 225 Paragraph 650/1 et seq. The Illinois Meat & Poultry Inspection program ... "shall comply with bulletins, manuals of procedure and guidelines issued by the United States Department of Agriculture which implement the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Federal Poultry Inspection Act."(Title 9 Code of Federal Regulations Part 300 et seq.). There are five specific types of licenses issued by the Illinois Department of Agriculture Bureau of Meat and Poultry Inspection. 

Licenses Issued by the Bureau of Meat and Poultry Inspection:

Type 1: Establishments issued a Type I license shall be permitted to receive live animals and or poultry and/or meat and poultry products for slaughter and processing, under inspection by Department Personnel. Meat and/or poultry products that are produced, under inspection, and properly labeled are eligible for sale in intrastate commerce.  Type 1 establishments are also allowed to apply for an exemption that would permit them to slaughter and/or process animals without inspection as custom exempt product that is a service to the owner and would not be for sale.

Type 2: Establishments issued a Type 2 license shall be permitted to receive live animals and/or poultry and/or meat and poultry products for slaughter and processing as a service only. Animals and poultry and/or animal and poultry products may be presented for slaughter and/or processing by the owner for the owner's own personal use in his or her household. Meat and/or poultry products processed and/or produced in a Type 2 establishment are not produced under inspection and are not eligible for sale in commerce.

Meat and Poultry Broker: "Meat broker", "poultry broker", or "meat and poultry broker" "means any person, firm or corporation, engaged in the business of buying, negotiating for purchase of, handling or taking possession of, or selling meat or poultry products on commission or otherwise purchasing or selling of such articles other than for the person's own account in their original containers without changing the character of the products in any way. A broker shall not possess any processing equipment in his or her licensed facility".

Licenses for Meat and Poultry Brokers issued under the Bureau of Meat and Poultry Inspection are renewable annually with an effective date of July 1 and an expiration date of June 30.  The annual fee for each license is $50.00.

A Meat and Poultry Brokers license is not required to sell products at Farmer's Markets or for Catering.  For either of these needs, contact the local county health department for requirements.  Please note that any meat and poultry sold or used must be from a source that was inspected and either bears or bore the State or Federal mark of inspection."


Refrigerated Warehouse: "Artificially cooled warehouse" hereinafter referred to as "Refrigerated warehouse" means any place artificially or mechanically cooled to or below a temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit in which articles of food are placed and held for 30 days or more before distribution to wholesalers, retailers or jobbers, other than a locker plant or branch locker plant as defined in "An Act in relation to meat and poultry inspection and making an appropriation therefor", approved July 22, 1959, as now or hereafter amended.

Licenses for Refrigerated Warehouses issued under the Bureau of Meat and Poultry Inspection are renewable annually with an effective date of July 1 and an expiration date of June 30.  The annual fee for each license is $50.00.

Halal Certificate: "Halal" means prepared under and maintained in strict compliance with the laws and customs of the Islamic religion including but not limited to those laws and customs of zabiha/zabeeha (slaughtered according to appropriate Islamic code), and as expressed by reliable recognized Islamic entities and scholars. 

Halal Certificates issued under the Bureau of Meat and Poultry Inspection are renewable annually with an effective date of July 1 and an expiration date of June 30.  The annual fee for each license is $75.00.


Reasons for Restaurants and/or Retail Stores to be Licensed as a Processor:

Restaurant​: A business that prepares and sells cooked meats or entrees directly to the end-consumer. A caterer is classified the same as a restaurant. If a restaurant or caterer sells to other than the end-consumer, they must be licensed as a processor with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Examples:

  1. Meat pizzas, tacos, meat entrees, or any other meat products over 3% raw meat or 2% cooked meat, to taverns, catering trucks, retail stores, hotels, restaurants, institutions, etc.;
  2. Custom processing, (cooking, smoking, or slicing meat product not owned by the restaurant).

Retail Store: A business that sells meat product to the end-consumer.  Examples of a retail store processing and selling to the following:

  1. Processes and sells multi-ingredient meat products to HRI account;
  2. Processes and sells any meat product, multi-ingredient or single ingredient products, to a retail store;
  3. Custom processing: Further processing meat product that belongs to someone else, (cutting and processing a carcass or part of a carcass that belongs to someone other than the store).

If a retail store processes and sells meat products to any of the above outlined examples, they must be licensed as a processor with the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Meat products are adulterated if they contain sodium benzoate or benzoic acid, except as permitted in accordance with ​the United States Department of Agriculture, (USDA).


Any person who believes he or she, or any specific class of individuals, has been subjected to discrimination by the Illinois Meat and Poultry Inspection Program or believes the Program is otherwise in noncompliance with applicable civil rights requirements may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). A complainant has 180 days from the date of the alleged discriminatory action or the time that they became aware of it to file a program discrimination complaint with USDA.

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Director, Center for Civil Rights Enforcement
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-9410
CR-INFO@ascr.usda.gov
Telephone: (866) 632-9992 (Voice and TDD)
Federal relay (800) 877-8339
Spanish relay (800) 845-6136