Posted on Saturday, September 29, 2018 at 4:00 PM
Poultry is all about the P’s: production, profitability and paperwork. Eggs and chicken meat are popular sources of protein. Diversifying your current farm or focusing only on poultry can increase your bottom line.
Make sure your paperwork is in order before opening your poultry or egg business. Start at the municipal level and meet all local ordinances and requirements for a poultry production facility. Your municipal officials can connect you to the county office, that may have other requirements before business commences.
What is a limited poultry and egg operation?
Any poultry operation with under 1,000 laying hens or 20,000 birds for dressed poultry is defined as a Limited Poultry and Egg Farm Operation by the state of Florida. This means that you’re a farm-based food establishment that is selling eggs or dressed poultry directly to consumers. Poultry includes chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, guinea, fowl, or quail.
Limited poultry and egg permit farms can sell their products at roadside stands, farmers markets, or through direct sales to the purchaser, including restaurants and institutions (for cooking, not for resale). Internet sales aren’t allowed. Your farm must have USDA approved cleaners and sanitizers for eggs, and the appropriate egg washing machine or three-compartment sink for sanitation. All eggs for resale must be kept at 45 degrees Fahrenheit or colder, and dressed poultry must be kept at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or colder.
There are limits to the quantity of sales that a limited poultry farm can do in one week; no more than 30 dozen eggs or 384 dressed poultry. Products can only be sold within the state of Florida, and not across state lines.
Whether you meet the definition of a Limited Poultry and Egg Operation or not, you need a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) food permit. The permit must be renewed each year, and as of December 31, 2018 all permits will be done online with an account you create on the FDACS site. If you currently have a permit, you should have received a letter in August about the change to the electronic signature. You will receive login information in October. The new system will be available in November for all 2019 permits.
All limited poultry and egg permit holders must contact the FDACS Division of Food Safety for an application and request for an inspection of permitting. Submit your request within 14 days (but no sooner than that) of opening your business. The application includes documentation of an approved water and wastewater system, and can be filled out online.
Quick Reference Guide
For ease of application process, here is a step by step guide:
For poultry farms in other states, check with your Department of Agriculture for the permits required for poultry production in your state. Farm on!
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