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Illegal slaughterhouses growing concern in NC

Posted October 3, 2011
Updated October 4, 2011

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— A Wake County farm is under investigation for what inspectors from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services say is a growing concern – farmers slaughtering livestock and selling meat without a license.

According to a search warrant filed last week, inspectors made an undercover buy of a slaughtered goat from the farm of Juan and Maria Alonso, who allegedly have been operating an illegal slaughter, processing and sales operation.

Although people who violate these laws can be charged with a crime, agriculture officials say the most likely outcome is a civil penalty, a fine of up to $5,000 per violation.

Brian Long, a state agriculture department spokesman, says the agency’s goal is not to charge people with crimes but to educate them about the laws regarding the safe and licensed sale of meat.

Ultimately, he says, the practice puts consumers in danger.

 Illegal slaughterhouses growing concern in NC

"In some cases, there are cultural differences," Long said. "There is a lack of understanding of what is required in North Carolina."

Long says that the processing and selling of meat by unlicensed facilities is a growing problem in North Carolina. People either aren't aware that they need permission, or they are just trying to make fast money, he said.

There are 188 licensed processors in the state. In addition, there are 706 meat and poultry handlers registered with the agriculture department who take animals to plants to be slaughtered, processed and packaged, then sell the meat. Of the 706 registered handlers, 486 are farmers.

Long say that, without inspections, the process is unsanitary and can lead to diseased meat.

"It's a public health issue," Long said. "We don't want to stand in the way of legitimate commerce, but we want people to do it the right way, to do it the safe way."

26 Comments

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  • mfarmer1 Oct 4, 3:42 p.m.

    Can I have some more e-coli, salmonella, Mad cow please sir? The USDA is not perfect, but they definitely help keep our food system at a higher quality than if they did not exist.

  • haggis basher Oct 4, 2:40 p.m.

    "It's a good thing we can trust the government for making sure the food we eat is safe!!! [sarcasm intended!!!!]

    yeah germs are just a Liberal plot and of course we can rely on the the profit motive to make sure meat vendors spend what is needed to make sure e-coli, salmonella etc don't kill our kids and old folks [sarcasm intended!!!!]

  • minnapon Oct 4, 12:19 p.m.

    It's a good thing we can trust the government for making sure the food we eat is safe!!! [sarcasm intended!!!!]

  • andy2 Oct 4, 10:31 a.m.

    A couple of things here that have not been raised. For those of you who want to buy food from the unlicensed guy next door go ahead. However if you become sick please go to him for medical care. The emergency rooms are already full of people who can't pay. I am sure he is not insured but will be more than happy to pay for time lost at work and suffering.

  • dlnorri Oct 4, 10:22 a.m.

    It should be much easier for someone to set up and operate a small production/local sale meat operation. That being said, there is good reason for the laws and regulations that are in place to oversee food production and distribution. If you are gullible enough to trust everyone selling you stuff with out some rules, let me tell you about the dumpster divers and the fruit stand they operated in town some years ago....(yes it was seen repeatedly...)

  • NomoreKoolaid Oct 4, 9:49 a.m.

    Illegal slaughter houses to help ILLEGALS avoid even sales taxes now. I do not know many legal citizens that eat goats.

  • classicwhaler Oct 4, 9:48 a.m.

    I don't have a problem buying meat from a small, family-run licensed facility. They often have high-quality, tasty meats that I can't get in the grocery. And I know where the meat was raised and how. I will not buy from an unlicensed processor. Too much danger of improper handling and storage, dirty facilities, etc. So thumbs up for buying local. But only the right way. I don't think this has anything to do with on-farm slaughter and processing for family---a long-standing NC farm tradition.

  • firemaneric Oct 4, 9:46 a.m.

    This is because the Gov't thinks we cannot deal with decisions like this ourselves of where we should buy meat. The Gov't thinks they should make the decisions for us.

    I think it would be allot cheaper and easier for the Gov't to help educate people how to ensure they make safe decisions vs turning into a nanny state because we are not trusted to make our own decisions.

  • sillywabbitthepatriot Oct 4, 9:45 a.m.

    For those of you not at all concerned, have you asked yourself what and where they are disposing the offal (internal organs and waste)? Does this farmer have enough land to bury what left over and is or is it not contaminating some water source? What about the water that is used to clean this facility. Where is it going? There are laws on the books for a reason. A farmer who has a hog killing once a year and kills a couple of hogs is far different than a slaughterhouse in operation for profit.

  • sillywabbitthepatriot Oct 4, 9:39 a.m.

    Yes, lets handle this violation with kid gloves.

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