Meat and poultry are an important part of the American diet and as such, consumers need helpful information to assist in the handling and enjoyment of these popular protein sources. Let's take a look at how these food products are inspected for wholesomeness and assurance of truthful labeling.


What are the functions of Arizona's Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) Program?

State meat inspection personnel monitor general plant and equipment sanitation, processing sanitation, good manufacturing practices during production, ante mortem and post mortem inspection at slaughter, multi-ingredient formulation, the use of approved labeling and laboratory sampling programs. State meat inspections are required by law and rule.


How are these duties carried out?

Each day a plant operates, an MPI employee makes a least one unannounced visit to review production activity. If discrepancies are found, they are documented and then discussed with plant management to determine what corrective actions will be taken to ensure that no unwholesome or mislabeled product leaves the plant. In slaughter plants, an MPI Inspector observes each animal presented for slaughter, both alive and at various stages during the carcass dressing procedure.

Unfit and/or unwholesome carcasses and parts are removed from the human food chain and de-characterized for inedible purposes.


If the MPI Program regulates the wholesale segment of the food industry, who looks after the restaurants and retail meat sales in Arizona?

In Arizona each County Health Department has jurisdiction over the regulation of restaurants and retail meat sales. This is true whether in a small local store or a large "wholesale club".


Is MPI the same as meat grading for quality?

No. MPI is directly responsible for wholesomeness and proper labeling. Meat grading applies a quality rating to the meat such as prime, choice, standard, etc.


Does the label information really benefit me as a consumer?

Yes. Regulations require that all items displayed on labels of meat and poultry products must be true and not misleading.

The major label features are:

  • The product name, stating the type of meat or poultry component used
  • A list of ingredients, in descending order of predominance
  • The net weight of contents
  • The name and address of the manufacturer or distributor
  • A safe handling statement telling safeguards to take to protect public health in the handling of the product at the consumer's home
  • A statement telling whether to keep the product frozen or refrigerated until time for cooking
  • All manufactured products must display the mark of meat inspection


Who pays the cost of MPI?

MPI is a program within the Arizona Department of Agriculture. As such, it is totally funded by tax dollars. This assures that the program is free to regulate the industry.


How should meat and poultry products be handled at home?

Keep uncooked products under refrigeration as much as possible. If you are not going to cook and eat the product the same day as purchased, it is generally advisable to freeze it until use. Cooked leftover meats and poultry should be refrigerated within 2 hours after cooking. If it is necessary to keep cooked meats and poultry without refrigeration longer than 2 hours maintain their temperature at or above 140 degrees Fahrenheit.


Where can I find more information about starting a processing or slaughter operation?

Starting a Processing or Slaughter Operation

Official Processing Requirements Download
Official Slaughter Requirements Download
Exempt Processing Requirements Download
Exempt Slaughter Requirements Download
A.R.S. Poultry Exemptions Download
Exemption Chart 1 Download
Exemption Chart 2 Download

Want More Information?

For more information about meat or poultry products, call us at (602) 542-6398.

Limited English Proficiency (LEP)

Policy Statement

It is the policy of the Arizona Department of Agriculture Meat and Poultry Inspection Program to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to all individuals who wish to access the Arizona Department of Agriculture, Meat and Poultry Inspection Program services regardless of their national origin or limited ability to speak, read, write or understand English.

Who is Limited English Proficient (LEP)?

LEP individuals do not speak English as their primary language and have a limited ability to read, write, speak or understand English.

Background and Purpose

Federal law prohibits national origin discrimination and requires federally assisted agencies to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to LEP individuals. Language barriers can prevent LEP individuals from receiving meaningful access to State services and information.

Language Assistance

If you would like to request language assistance or need more information concerning LEP, contact:

Meat and Poultry Inspection Program Manager
Arizona Department of Agriculture
1110 W. Washington Ste 450
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 542-6398
[email protected]

Limitada De Inglés (LEP)

Declaración De Política

Es la política del Departamento de Agricultura de Carne y Programa de Inspección de Aves de Arizona para tomar las medidas razonables para proporcionar acceso significativo a todas las personas que deseen acceder al Departamento de Agricultura, la carne y los servicios del Programa de Inspección de Aves de Arizona, independientemente de su origen nacional o capacidad limitada hablar, leer, escribir o entender Inglés.

Que es Limitado Del Inglés (LEP)?

Individuos LEP no hablan Inglés como primera lengua y tienen una capacidad limitada para leer, escribir, hablar o entender Inglés.

Antecedentes y objetivo

La ley federal prohíbe la discriminación por origen nacional y requiere el gobierno federal agencias asistida de tomar medidas razonables para proporcionar un acceso significativo a los individuos LEP. Language barriers can prevent LEP individuals from receiving meaningful access to State services and information. Las barreras del idioma pueden impedir que las personas LEP de recibir un acceso significativo a los servicios del Estado y de la información.

Ayuda con el idioma  

Si desea solicitar ayuda con el idioma o si necesita más información relativa a contactos LEP:

La carne y el Administrador de programas de inspección de aves de corral

Departamento de Agricultura de Arizona
1110 W. Washington Ste 450
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 542-6398
[email protected]

Any Spanish-language document on this website is a translation from text originally written in English. These translations are unofficial. They are not binding on the state of Arizona or on any political subdivision of this state. "Cualquier documento en Español en sitio de Internet es una traducción del texto original escrito en Inglés. Esta traducción no es oficial y no ata al estado de Arizona o a alguna subdivisión política del mismo."  

Click here to view the poster above.

This is an equal opportunity program. If you believe you have been discriminated against because of race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion or disability, it is your right to file a complaint of discrimination. Contact the Arizona MPI Program Manager, 1110 W Washington, Ste 450 Phoenix, AZ, 85007 or call 602-542-6398 (voice only) or 1-800-367-8939 (TTY Relay Service), or write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (202) 720-5694 (voice and TDD).

  • Food Access

    Finding Healthy Food in Arizona
    Connecting people, food, and resources through partnerships with producers, non-profits, for-profits and government.
  • Get a License

    Apply For, Renew, or look up a License
    Enter our Licensing and Payment System then use the filter at the top to find the license you want to apply for or renew or find existing license information, including CEU's