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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, know 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. The following guidance documents outline requirements 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


Licensing Requirments:

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, exemptons, 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 Requirments for Retail Vendors:

Retail vendors are required to maintain records documenting all meat and poultry related transactions conducted by their buisness.  This inculdes mantaing pruchaching invoices, receing 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 requirments 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


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