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Small meat processing operation scenario

Type of operation
Mizzou Meats is a family-owned meat processing facility. An average of 20 head of beef, and 40 head of swine are slaughtered and processed on a weekly basis. From Oct. 15 until Jan. 15, approximately 1,000 deer are processed on a custom basis.

The facility, owned by the Truman T. Tiger family is located at 4567 Brisket Blvd., Flat Iron, Mo. 65000. Brisket Blvd is located on the north side of the town square. The town has a population of 2,700 is located 45 miles west of Highway 63 (main north/south connector in Missouri), and 15 miles south of Interstate 70 (main east/west connector in Missouri). The facility has a large sign on the building and billboards on both Highway 63 and Interstate 70. Mizzou Meats is well known in the town of Flat Iron. It advertises in the small town newspapers of neighboring counties and maintains a detailed website which includes a map and driving directions. There is a regional airport 60 miles away and an international airport 135 miles away. There is a river terminal 10 miles away and a railway terminal 15 miles away.

Product range
The facility processes beef, pork, poultry and venison (in season) products. A full range of both fresh and processed meats are sold in the retail store.

Marketing strategy
Product sales take place on site, with some distribution to local markets. Twenty percent of the product is distributed through the on-site retail store. Thirty percent of the product is distributed wholesale (five percent of wholesale distribution occurs in other states). Custom work accounts for another 30 percent of production. Processing deer for hunters accounts for the final 20 percent of production. The retail sales area is open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday and is closed on Sunday.

The facility consists of a 15,000 ft2 building, which is owned by the Truman T. Tiger family. The building is subdivided into sales/display, coolers, freezer, offal cooler, smokehouse, kill floor, processing, and storage. There is 100 ft of frontage on the town square. The building is flanked by the Hammerschmidt Hardware building (4565 Brisket Blvd., Flat Iron, Mo. 65000; 573-870-1234) on the east side and Auto B. Ographie’s Bookstore (4569 Brisket Blvd., Flat Iron, Mo. 65000; 573-870-5678) on the west side. The buildings are separated by public alleys on both sides. There are no windows facing the alleys, but there is one door on the east side of the building that opens facing the hardware store. Employee parking is located at the back of the building next to the loading dock. The front doors are kept locked at night, and the alley door is also locked, but there has been some recent turnover of the processing employees, and the keys are not all accounted for. The livestock pens are kept open for evening deliveries.

The perimeter of the facility is not controlled, but access to much of the facility is blocked by surrounding buildings. The main entrance with is on Brisket Blvd. on the north side of the town square. Customers park in angle slots along the square. Employee parking is near the loading dock at the back of the building, with access via an alley.

The facility receives electric power and water from the city. Natural gas is provided by American Gas Inc. (111 Methane Ave., Saint Flatulence, Mo. 65222). There is a landline phone in the office with extensions in the sales floor and processing areas. Phone service is provided by Decadetel Ltd. (1357 Caller ID Circle, Ringtone, Mo. 65333).

There is a large freezer for raw materials and a smaller freezer for finished product. There is a large cooler for carcasses and raw product and a smaller cooler for finished product. There is a dry storage area for supplies such as salt, spices, casings, and packaging materials and a separate area for chemical storage. Perishable raw materials and products are kept under close inventory by date. There is no access log for dry storage or chemical storage.

The facility orders supplies from several different supply houses. Beef and pork are occasionally purchased in order to supplement raw materials obtained from slaughter. Beef is purchased from KBP (1000 Stockyard Row, Empirical Kan. 66801) and pork is purchased from A-1 Farms (215 Pork Belly Blvd, Hamhock, Mo. 65111). Fresh hams are ordered from A-1 Farms in late fall for sale during the holidays. Salt and spices are ordered from Duluth Spices (4789 Saline Drive, Duluth, Minn. 55701). Packaging materials and casings are ordered from Box Me (345 Corrugation Circle, Cardboard, Conn. 06101). Cleaning chemicals and sanitizing solutions are obtained from Chlorax Co. Inc. (4908 Hypochlorite Way, Soapstone, Ohio 54321). Scalding solutions are purchased by the drum from Hair-Off (321 Depilatory Dr., Shavetown, Penn. 19019). Perishable ingredients are ordered weekly (twice weekly near the holidays). Dry ingredients and packaging are ordered bi-weekly. Deliveries are only accepted during working hours, preferably in the afternoon. Employees unload and store deliveries. The senior employee on premises is responsible for checking the invoice and bill of lading.

Waste management
Offal is picked up weekly by Commercial Rendering Ltd. (109 Fatty Acid Ave, Lipid, La. 71101 318-455-0098). Trash collection is performed twice weekly by the city of Flat Iron. Flat Iron disposes of waste in its municipal landfill (246 Sanitation Road, Flat Iron, Mo. 65000).

The plant employs 12 permanent full time employees and six permanent part time employees. Among the full time employees is the manager, Barry Butcher, the bookkeeper, Paul Payroll, and Sally Safeguard the HACCP coordinator. The part time employees do much of the cleaning and are on the premises after the full time employees have gone home. During deer season there are an additional six temporary employees added to the staff. These temporary employees are generally the same individuals from year to year. Most of the year there are processing employees at the site from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday. Those employees are supervised by the manager. During deer season, sales hours remain the same, but processing employees are working from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Monday through Sunday. Food safety trainings are performed by the manager and/or the HACCP coordinator. On the job training for new employees is done by experienced employees. Among the training materials that are presented are the HACCP plan, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) for processed meats and all employees are trained in the SCAN security system. The hiring process includes checking references, but does not include a background or credit check.

Quality control
The plant has an up-to-date HACCP plan and is federally inspected. The FSIS inspector collects samples in accordance with federal guidelines. The plant voluntarily collects its own samples (E. coli for beef, and 13 different samples for pork) and sends them to an independent lab for analysis. Sausages are tested for pH and hams are sampled to verify moisture content.

Visitor policy
Retail customers are not allowed in the processing areas, but those ordering custom processing may ask for a tour of the plant. Signage between the retail and processing area indicates that rest rooms are not for public use. General tours are not given. Representatives from equipment and ingredient distributors occasionally visit the facility by appointment. The facility does not maintain a visitor log.