FSIS Issues Guidance on Retailer and Restaurant Exemptions from Inspection Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recently released a guidance document to help companies determine whether their operations are exempt from the inspection requirements of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA). This guidance marks FSIS’s first significant attempt to articulate policy addressing the applicability of its retailer and restaurant exemptions to newer food distribution models, such as online retailers and home delivered meal services. In particular, the guidance confirms that online-only grocery stores and home delivery meal kit services are eligible for the retailer exemption from FSIS inspection.

This post focuses on new aspects of FSIS’s guidance that apply to operations such as online grocery stores, online markets, meal kit delivery services, and restaurants, although the guidance addresses other exemptions including custom slaughter operations.

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