To help farmers meet growing consumer demand for local meats, the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) has a voluntary certification program to assist small poultry and rabbit operations to meet the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DHMH) approved source requirements to sell poultry and/or rabbit (off-farm) at farmers’ markets or to restaurants and retailers in Maryland.
To become certified for off-farm sales, producers must:
- Complete the training;
- Pass a brief test at the training;
- Submit an application for certification along with a $75 annual fee; and
- Be inspected by MDA, which will conduct an inspection at least once per year to verify that producers are following food safety requirements.
MDA in partnership with the University of Maryland will conduct a training workshop for on-farm poultry and rabbit slaughter and processing on Monday, February 11, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at MDA, 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis. Registration check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. The training fee is $20 which includes lunch and materials. The registration form can be found here: 2013 MDA Poultry Rabbit Certification Training.
Workshop participants will learn to recognize diseases of public health concern, take basic biosecurity measures, write and implement basic Standard Sanitary Operating Procedures, develop Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point plans, and properly dispose of offal and waste water.
Additional training sessions are being planned for Western Maryland and Cambridge on the Eastern Shore.