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Retail Meat and Poultry

Retail vendors in Vermont are stores or points-of-sale that sell, display, advertise for sale, offer for sale, or have available for sale meat, meat food products and/or poultry products for purchase by household consumers. Selling or attempting to sell meat and poultry products to consumers at their homes is also considered to be retail activity.

The three general categories of retail activity in Vermont include:

  • selling prepackaged meat/poultry,
  • small retail processors that have less than 300 square feet of meat cutting area OR less than 20 linear feet of meat display space, and
  • large retail processors that have greater than 300 square feet AND more than 20 linear feet of display space.


Periodic Review of Retail Vendors:

Retail vendors in Vermont are subject to periodic, risk-based reviews, known as a surveillance. Meat inspection program staff check for compliance with Title 6 Chapter 204: Vermont Meat and Poultry Inspection Laws and the meat and poultry retail regulations.  A surveillance review includes checking for proper safe handling of meat and poultry, sanitation, transportation, record keeping, pest control, the use of deceptive practices, labeling, dating policies, and fat/lean claims. It also includes verifying all meat and poultry being offered for sale is inspected and passed or  otherwise exempt from the inspection requirements. *Please note custom exempt meat products cannot be offered for sale

The following guidance documents outline requirements  and best practices for operating as a retail vendor in Vermont. 

Retail Labeling Guidance

Guidance for Storage and Sale of Prepackaged Meat and Poultry

Retail Guidance for Small and Large Processers of Meat and Poultry

Best Practices Guidance for Controlling Listeria monocytogenes in Retail Delicatessens

Watch out For Rodents!

USDA Retail Guidance


Licensing Requirements:

A retail license is required if you operate stores, sell or attempt to sell to consumers at their homes, or otherwise sell, display, advertise for sale, offer for sale, or have available for sale meat, meat food products and/or poultry products for purchase by household consumers.

Retail License Application

I prepare food for sale that contains meat and/or poultry.  Do I need a VAAFM license?

Many businesses are interested in preparing meals, entrees, and other food items that contain meat or poultry. The rules, exemptions, and licensing requirements for meat and poultry in Vermont are complex and can be confusing. Vermont Meat Inspection Services has developed this guidance document to explain when a food processing business is required to hold a license issued by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) for meat or poultry processing and what type of license they will need.

Guidelines for Prepared Meals & Other Products Containing Meat or Poultry


Record Keeping Requirements for Retail Vendors:

Retail vendors are required to maintain records documenting all meat and poultry related transactions conducted by their business.  This includes maintaining purchasing invoices, receiving records, such as bills of sale or cash register receipts, and raw ground beef production records a prescribed in 9 CFR 320.1. Below are some documents outlining the requirements for maintaining raw ground beef production records. 

Retail Grinding Record Keeping Rule

Records Required by Retail Stores that Grind Raw Beef Products

Sample Ground Beef Grinding Log


Meat and Poultry Product Dating

Many manufacturers and retailers apply a calender date to meat and poultry products.  The calendar date provides consumers with information on the estimated period of time for which the product will be of best quality and to help the store determine how long to display the product for sale.  These dates are not an indicator of food safety and therefore are not required by state or federal law. 

Vermont does require retailers that apply a calender date to retail packages of meat and poultry to post their poilcy concering date of sale labeling so consumer can understand their policy.  See 6 V.S.A. 3305 (14)

For more infomation on meat and poultry dating please visit USDA FSIS webpage for food product dating.


Retail Specially Processed Meat/Poultry Variance:

Vermont rules, CVR 20-023-001 Part 303.1(C), limit the activities traditionally conducted by retail vendors to:

  • Cutting up, slicing, and trimming carcasses, halves, quarters, or wholesale cuts into retail cuts such as steaks, chops, and roasts, and freezing such cuts;
  • Grinding and freezing products made from meat;
  • Cooking and re-smoking,
  • Breaking bulk shipments of products;
  • Wrapping or rewrapping products

Cured, smoked, and dried meat and poultry and rendered or refined livestock fats cannot be produced under the retail exemption without applying for a variance to the current adopted rules. Some examples of meat and poultry products requiring a Special Process Variance include, but are not limited to, Bacon, Ham, Smoked Sausages, Jerky, and Rendered lard, tallow, or chicken fat.

This form is to request a variance to current regulations to allow special processing at the retail level, including but not limited to, smoking, curing (and uncured products), refining of livestock fats, drying and pickling. The full policy can be accessed below.

      Specially Processed Meat and Poultry Policy - 001

  Specially Processed Variance Application

      Variance Approval Process Flowchart

Reduced Oxygen Packaging (ROP) Policy

Pet Food Program