Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Guy Busted For Pig Roasting

Christoph Wiesner, Head of the Mangalitsa Breeders' Association, grilling a Mangalitsa.

Previously it was guys accused of slaughtering pigs in their illegal rooming house, now we've got a guy accused of illegally serving roasted pig to the public.[1]

In both cases you've got foreigners accused of meat preparation outside the bounds of the law. This stuff doesn't just impact foreigners. E.g. they had a grand boucherie in southern Louisiana. Because of the Federal Meat Inspection Act, they had to remove that pig and substitute another one:
"Federal health code regulations prevent attendees from eating what is slaughtered during the celebration, Hardy said. So the butcher, after showing what is done traditionally, will take the carcass and byproducts to his shop to finish preparing the meat."
I can't tell you how much that bothers me. I understand that we don't want uninspected meat winding up in restaurants, as then customers won't know if stuff is safe or not. But it just seems wrong to interfere with a bunch of Cajuns killing a pig the way they've done it for hundreds of years.

[1] That guy's defense, that he wasn't serving pigs to the public, but rather his extended family, is beautiful:
"Enad said he had an extended family of 600 people and he only roasted for those whom he considered close ..."


Hayden said...

very upsetting.

I understand the FDA's intentions, but they're so far wide of the mark that it's ridiculous.

Franz said...

Are there any small-scale-farming-oriented organizations on the west coast whose mission is to advance the cause of direct producer-to-consumer interaction/sales? Small-scale poultry production seems to have all kinds of regulatory loopholes facilitating direct interaction with their consumers, though I'm not sure how long these special case regs have been around and whether the farmers' associations (like the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association; had anything to do with them, and I'm wondering if there are comparable organizations geared towards instituting friendlier regulations for small-scale producers of larger livestock (like Mangalitsas).

I am in the planning stages of starting a family farm on the west coast, and with my family background (Philipino and Hungarian) highest-quality pork products, cured and cooked, are sure to play a significant role in the operation and sustenance of the farm. Is there no alternative to hauling the pigs god-knows-how-far to a federally inspected facility if I want to sell my cured meats? Are there any reasonably reputable organizations trying to do something about this? How can I get involved?

Heath said...

franz - in most states, if you are a state-licensed slaughterer and butcher, you can kill someone's animal for them and process their half or whole pig. You could be the farmer that raises and sells that pig. That's the way to produce the highest quality meat products - obviously if you are managing all that stuff, you'll get paid more or less depending on your customer's perception of the finished product.

If you get in a USDA-inspected carcass from a USDA plant, you can process that and retail that to the public. That's what butchers do. So you could send your animals to a USDA plant, get them killed and hauled back for processing. It is stupid. You might appreciate how they do it in Austria - they have the best of both worlds.

Your state inspector will get nervous if you've got uninspected and inspected meat in the same facility - obviously they don't want uninspected meat entering commerce.

People who raise chickens have it about as bad as those who raise pigs - but I understand that there's typically an exemption if you aren't doing that many birds.

bruceki said...

You can process up to 2,000 birds for sale to the public at your own facility under washington state law. More than that and there are more regulatory hurdles -- basically under 2,000 birds a year and you can do pasture processing. Over and you have to have a facility that passes current health regulations involving washable walls, "dirty" and "clean" areas with restricted openings, hot water and so on.

So for the small poultry producer, a $50 license is not a huge regulatory hurdle for 2,000 birds.

Walter Jeffries said...

I believe his defense. We had a family reunion where about 600 relatives showed up. Just close family, of course. We wouldn't want out clan there. Big families are great and the government shouldn't be interfering.

In our state, Vermont, we're working on getting small scale on farm slaughter legalized. It is absurd that it is outlawed. Last year we got poultry. This year perhaps red meat.

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