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Code of Virginia
Title 3.2. Agriculture, Animal Care, and Food
Chapter 54. Slaughterhouses, Meat, and Dressed Poultry
11/29/2022

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 3.2-5400. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Animal food manufacturer" means any person engaged in the business of preparing animal (including poultry) food derived wholly or in part from livestock or poultry carcasses or parts or products of such carcasses.

"Broker" means any person engaged in the business of buying or selling livestock products or poultry products on commission, or otherwise negotiating purchases or sales of such articles other than for his own account or as an employee of another person.

"Capable of use as human food" shall apply to any livestock or poultry carcass, or part or product of any such carcass, unless it is denatured or otherwise identified as required by regulations prescribed by the Board to deter its use as human food, or it is naturally inedible by humans.

"Container" or "package" means any box, can, tin, cloth, plastic, or other receptacle, wrapper, or cover.

"Federal acts" means the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. § 601 et seq.) and the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. § 451 et seq.).

"Immediate container" means any consumer package; or any other container in which livestock products or poultry products, not consumer packaged, are packed.

"Inspector" means an employee or official of the Commonwealth authorized by the Commissioner or any employee or official of the government of any locality authorized by the Commissioner to perform any inspection functions under this article under an agreement between the Commissioner and such governmental subdivision.

"Label" means a display of written, printed, or graphic matter upon any article or the immediate container (not including package liners) of any article.

"Labeling" means all labels and other written, printed, or graphic matter: (i) upon any article or any of its containers or wrappers; or (ii) accompanying such article.

"Livestock" means any cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules, or other equines, whether live or dead.

"Livestock product" means any carcass, part thereof, meat, or meat food product of any livestock.

"Meat food product" means any product capable of use as human food that is made wholly or in part from any meat or other portion of the carcass of any cattle, sheep, swine, or goats. Products that contain meat or other portions of such carcasses only in a relatively small proportion or historically have not been considered by consumers as products of the meat food industry, and that are exempted from definition as a meat food product by the Commissioner under such conditions as he may prescribe to assure that the meat or other portions of such carcass contained in such product are not adulterated and that such products are not represented as meat food products. This term as applied to food products of equines shall have a comparable meaning.

"Official certificate" means any certificate prescribed by regulations of the Board for issuance by an inspector or other person performing official functions under this article.

"Official device" means any device prescribed or authorized by the Commissioner for use in applying any official mark.

"Official establishment" means any establishment as determined by the Commissioner at which inspection of the slaughter of livestock or poultry or the preparation of livestock products or poultry products is maintained under the authority of this article.

"Official inspection legend" means any symbol prescribed by regulations of the Board showing that an article was inspected and passed in accordance with this article.

"Official mark" means the official inspection legend or any other symbol prescribed by regulations of the Board to identify the status of any article or livestock or poultry under this article.

"Pesticide chemical," "food additive," "color additive," and "raw agricultural commodity" shall have the same meanings for purposes of this article as under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. § 321 et seq.).

"Poultry" means any domesticated bird, whether live or dead.

"Poultry product" means any poultry carcass or part thereof; or any product that is made wholly or in part from any poultry carcass or part thereof, excepting products that contain poultry ingredients only in a relatively small proportion or historically have not been considered by consumers as products of the poultry food industry, and that are exempted by the Commissioner from definition as a poultry product under such conditions as he may prescribe to assure that the poultry ingredients in such products are not adulterated and that such products are not represented as poultry products.

"Prepared" means slaughtered, canned, salted, stuffed, rendered, boned, cut up, or otherwise manufactured or processed.

"Render" means any person engaged in the business of rendering livestock or poultry carcasses, or parts of products of such carcasses, except rendering conducted under inspection or exemption under this article.

"Shipping container" means any container used or intended for use in packaging the product packed in an immediate container.

1970, c. 290, § 3.1-884.18; 2008, c. 860; 2020, c. 318.

§ 3.2-5401. Adulterated livestock product or poultry product.

Any livestock product or poultry product shall be deemed to be adulterated:

1. If it bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance that may render it injurious to health; but in case the substance is not an added substance, such article shall not be considered adulterated under this clause if the quantity of such substance in or on such article does not ordinarily render it injurious to health;

2. If it bears or contains (by reason of administration of any substance to the livestock or poultry or otherwise) any added poisonous or added deleterious substance (other than one that is: (i) a pesticide chemical in or on a raw agricultural commodity; (ii) a food additive; or (iii) a color additive) that may, in the judgment of the Commissioner, make such article unfit for human food;

3. If it is, in whole or in part, a raw agricultural commodity and such commodity bears or contains a pesticide chemical that is unsafe within the meaning of § 346a of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act;

4. If it bears or contains any food additive that is unsafe within the meaning of § 348 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act;

5. If it bears or contains any color additive that is unsafe within the meaning of § 379e of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; provided, that an article that is not otherwise deemed adulterated under subsection C or D of this section shall nevertheless be deemed adulterated if use of the pesticide chemical, food additive, or color additive in or on such article is prohibited by regulations of the Board in official establishments;

6. If it consists in whole or in part of any filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance or is for any other reason unsound, unhealthful, unwholesome, or otherwise unfit for human food;

7. If it has been prepared, packed, or held under unsanitary conditions whereby it may have become contaminated with filth, or whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health;

8. If it is, in whole or in part, the product of an animal (including poultry) that has died otherwise than by slaughter;

9. If its container is composed, in whole or in part, of any poisonous or deleterious substance that may render the contents injurious to health;

10. If it has been intentionally subjected to radiation, unless the use of the radiation was in conformity with a regulation or exemption in effect pursuant to § 348 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act;

11. If any valuable constituent has been in whole or in part omitted or abstracted therefrom; or if any substance has been substituted, wholly or in part therefor; or if damage or inferiority has been concealed in any manner; or if any substance has been added thereto or mixed or packed therewith so as to increase its bulk or weight, or reduce its quality or strength, or make it appear better or of greater value than it is; or

12. If it is margarine containing animal fat and any of the raw material used therein consisted in whole or in part of any filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance.

1970, c. 290, § 3.1-884.18; 2008, c. 860; 2020, c. 318.

§ 3.2-5402. Misbranded livestock product or poultry product.

Any livestock product or poultry product shall be deemed to be misbranded:

1. If its labeling is false or misleading in any particular;

2. If it is offered for sale under the name of another food;

3. If it is an imitation of another food, unless its label bears, in type of uniform size and prominence, the word "imitation" and immediately thereafter, the name of the food imitated;

4. If its container is so made, formed, or filled as to be misleading;

5. Unless it bears a label showing: (i) the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor; and (ii) an accurate statement of the quantity of the product in terms of weight, measure, or numerical count; provided, that under this subsection, exemptions as to livestock products not in containers may be established by regulations prescribed by the Board; and provided, further, that under clause (ii) of this subsection, reasonable variations may be permitted, and exemptions as to small packages may be established for livestock products or poultry products by regulations prescribed by the Board;

6. If any word, statement, or other information required by or under authority of this chapter to appear on the label or other labeling is not prominently placed thereon with such conspicuousness (as compared with other words, statements, designs, or devices, in labeling) and in such terms as to render it likely to be read and understood by the ordinary individual under customary conditions of purchase and use;

7. If it purports to be or is represented as a food for which a definition and standard of identity or composition has been prescribed by the regulations of the Board under § 3.2-5404 unless: (i) it conforms to such definition and standard; and (ii) its label bears the name of the food specified in the definition and standard and, insofar as may be required by such regulations, the common names of optional ingredients (other than spices, flavoring, and coloring) present in such food;

8. If it purports to be or is represented as a food for which a standard or standards of fill of container have been prescribed by regulations of the Board under § 3.2-5404 and it falls below the standard of fill of container applicable thereto, unless its label bears, in such manner and form as such regulations specify, a statement that it falls below such standard;

9. If it is not subject to the provisions of subdivision 7, unless its label bears: (i) the common or usual name of the food, if any there be; and (ii) in case it is fabricated from two or more ingredients, the common or usual name of each such ingredient; except that spices, flavorings, and colorings may, when authorized by the Commissioner, be designated as spices, flavorings, and colorings without naming each; provided that, to the extent that compliance with the requirements of clause (ii) of this subsection is impracticable, or results in deception or unfair competition, exemptions shall be established by regulations promulgated by the Board;

10. If it purports to be or is represented for special dietary uses, unless its label bears such information concerning its vitamin, mineral, and other dietary properties as the Commissioner, after consultation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, determines to be, and prescribes as, necessary in order fully to inform purchasers as to its value for such uses;

11. If it bears or contains any artificial flavoring, artificial coloring, or chemical preservative, unless it bears labeling stating that fact; provided that, to the extent that compliance with the requirements of this subsection is impracticable, exemptions shall be established by regulations adopted by the Board; or

12. If it fails to bear, directly thereon and on its containers, as the Board may by regulations prescribe, the official inspection legend and establishment number of the establishment where the product was prepared and, unrestricted by any of the foregoing, such other information as the Board may require in such regulations to assure that it will not have false or misleading labeling and that the public will be informed of the manner of handling required to maintain the article in a wholesome condition.

1970, c. 290, § 3.1-884.18; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-5403. Department to cooperate with U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Department shall cooperate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in administration of this chapter to provide for meat and poultry products inspection programs. These programs will impose and enforce requirements with respect to intrastate operations and commerce that are at least equal to those imposed and enforced under the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Federal Poultry Products Inspection Act with respect to operations and transactions in interstate commerce; and the Commissioner is directed to administer this chapter so as to accomplish this purpose.

1970, c. 290, § 3.1-884.19; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-5404. Duties of the Board.

In order to accomplish the objective stated in § 3.2-5403, the Board:

1. Shall, by regulations, require antemortem and postmortem inspections, quarantine, segregation and reinspections with respect to the slaughter of livestock and poultry and the preparation of livestock products and poultry products at all establishments in the Commonwealth, except those exempted by the Commissioner pursuant to subdivision 9 of § 3.2-5405, at which livestock or poultry are slaughtered or livestock products or poultry products are prepared for human food solely for distribution in intrastate commerce;

2. Shall, by regulations, require the identification of livestock and poultry for inspection purposes and the marking and labeling of livestock products or poultry products or their containers, or both, as "Virginia Inspected and Passed" if the products are found upon inspection to be not adulterated and as "Virginia Inspected and Condemned" if they are found upon inspection to be adulterated, and the destruction for food purposes of all such condemned products under the supervision of an inspector;

3. Shall prohibit the entry into official establishments of livestock products and poultry products not prepared under federal inspection or inspection pursuant to this article and further limit the entry of such articles and other materials into such establishments under such conditions as it deems necessary to effectuate the purposes of this article;

4. Shall, by regulations, require that when livestock products and poultry products leave official establishments they shall bear directly thereon or on their containers, or both, as it may require, all information required under § 3.2-5402; and require approval of all labeling and containers to be used for such products when sold or transported in intrastate commerce to assure that they comply with the requirements of this article;

5. Shall require the investigation of the sanitary conditions of each establishment within subdivision 1 of this section and require the Commissioner to withdraw or otherwise refuse to provide inspection service at any such establishment where the sanitary conditions are such as to render adulterated any livestock products or poultry products prepared or handled thereat;

6. Shall prescribe regulations relating to sanitation for all establishments required to have inspection under subdivision 1 of this section;

7. Shall, by regulations, require that the following classes of persons shall keep such records and for such periods as are specified in the regulations to fully and correctly disclose all transactions involved in their business, and afford to the Commissioner access to such places of business, an opportunity, at all reasonable times, to examine the facilities, inventory and records thereof, to copy the records, and to take reasonable samples of the inventory upon payment of the fair market value therefor: any persons that engage in or for intrastate commerce: (i) in the business of slaughtering any livestock or poultry, or preparing, freezing, packaging or labeling, buying or selling (as brokers, wholesalers or otherwise), transporting, or storing any livestock products or poultry products for human or animal food; or (ii) in business as renderers or in the business of buying, selling or transporting any dead, dying, disabled or diseased livestock or poultry, or parts of the carcasses of any such animals (including poultry) that died otherwise than by slaughter;

8. Shall, by regulations, prescribe the size and style of type to be used for labeling information required under this article, and definitions and standards of identity or composition or standards of fill of container, consistent with federal standards, when it deems such action appropriate for the protection of the public;

9. Shall, by regulations, prescribe conditions of storage and handling of livestock products and poultry products by persons engaged in the business of buying, selling, freezing, storing, or transporting such articles in or for intrastate commerce to assure that such articles will not be adulterated or misbranded when delivered to the consumer;

10. Shall, by regulations, require that every person engaged in business in or for intrastate commerce as a broker, renderer, animal food manufacturer, or wholesaler or public warehouseman of livestock products or poultry products, or engaged in the business of buying, selling or transporting in intrastate commerce, any dead, dying, disabled or diseased livestock or poultry or parts of the carcasses of any such animals (including poultry) that died otherwise than by slaughter shall register with the Commissioner his name and the address of each place of business at which and all trade names under which he conducts such business;

11. May adopt by reference or otherwise such provisions of the rules and regulations under the federal acts (with such changes therein as it deems appropriate to make them applicable to operations and transactions subject to this article) that shall have the same force and effect as if promulgated under this article, and promulgate such other rules and regulations it deems necessary for the efficient execution of the provisions of this article; and

12. Shall promulgate rules of practice providing opportunity for hearing in connection with issuance of orders under subdivision 5 of this section or subdivision A 1, A 2, or A 3 of § 3.2-5405 pending issuance of a final order in any such proceeding.

1970, c. 290, § 3.1-884.20; 1991, c. 344; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-5405. Powers of Commissioner.

A. The Commissioner may:

1. Order removal of inspectors from any establishment that fails to destroy condemned products as required under subdivision 2 of § 3.2-5404;

2. Order cessation of inspection service under this chapter with respect to any establishment for causes specified in § 671 of the Federal Meat Inspection Act or § 467 of the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act;

3. Order labeling and containers to be withheld from use if he determines that the labeling is false or misleading or the containers are of a misleading size or form;

4. Require that equines be slaughtered and prepared in establishments separate from establishments where other livestock are slaughtered or their products are prepared;

5. Appoint and prescribe the duties of such inspectors and other personnel as he deems necessary for the efficient execution of the provisions of this chapter;

6. Cooperate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in administration of this chapter to effectuate the purposes stated in § 3.2-5403; accept federal assistance for that purpose and spend public funds of the Commonwealth appropriated for administration of this chapter to pay 50 percent of the estimated total cost of the cooperative program;

7. Recommend to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for appointment to the advisory committees provided for in the federal acts, such officials or employees of the Department as the Commissioner shall designate;

8. Serve as the representative of the Governor for consultation with said Secretary under § 661(c) of the Federal Meat Inspection Act and § 454(c) of the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act unless the Governor selects another representative; and

9. Exempt the operations of any person from inspection or other requirements of this article if and to the extent such operations would be exempt from the corresponding requirements under the federal acts if they were conducted in or for interstate commerce or if the Commonwealth was designated under the federal acts as one in which the federal requirements apply to intrastate commerce.

B. Any order issued under subdivisions 1, 2, or 3 of subsection A shall be final unless appealed in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

1970, c. 290, §§ 3.1-884.21, 3.1-884.30; 1986, c. 615; 2008, c. 860; 2020, c. 318.