MSD Manual

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Professional Version

Overview of Meat Inspection


Kathryn R. Polking

, DVM, MPH, DACVPM, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Reviewed/Revised Jun 2022 | Modified Oct 2022

Inspection of meat by qualified individuals to eliminate unwholesome, adulterated, or mislabeled meat or meat products from the food supply protects consumers from the physical, biological, and chemical hazards that may originate in food animals, the environment, or people. The standard procedures do not cover every possibility concerning the acceptability of carcasses, organs, or other animal parts; the inspector must use personal judgment to ensure that only wholesome, unadulterated and properly labeled product is approved for food. (Also see Chemical Residues in Food and Fiber Chemical Residues in Animal Source Foods and Animal Fiber Veterinary drugs and pesticides are used routinely in animal production to manage diseases and control parasites, and crop protection chemicals are used in production of animal feeds. Chemical... read more .) Inspectors also verify humane handling of production animals and application of good commercial practices for poultry. In the US, the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) covers the inspection of meat products, and the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) covers the inspection of poultry.

Inspection activities are divided into antemortem, postmortem, and processing inspection.

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