Information for Flock Owners

While OPA is not the state regulatory agency for small egg producers and meat processors, we are happy to serve as a resource for poultry owners. Please find some of the regulations for selling meat and poultry below with links to the agencies overseeing these aspects of the poultry industry.


Small Egg Operator

A Small Egg Operator is an egg producer who maintains less than 500 birds annually and wishes to sell eggs from another location other than where the eggs were produced.

To sell eggs to a retailer, restaurant or at a farmer's market, an inspection is required by the Ohio Department of Agriculture Division of Food Safety. A small egg processor that is registered with the ODA must also license with their local health department to sell eggs at a farmer's market.

All eggs must be sold in properly labeled cartons. Label requirements include:

  • The name and address of the operation
  • An accurate statement of the quantity of the contents in terms of numerical count (12, one dozen, etc.)
  • The date the shell eggs were packed into the egg carton
  • Labeled "ungraded" or "unclassified"
  • Labeled "mixed size"
  • The safe handling statement (see below). This can be placed on the outside of the carton or on the inside of the carton lid.

SAFE HANDLING INSTRUCTIONS: To prevent illness from bacteria, keep eggs refrigerated, cook eggs until yolks are firm, and cook foods containing eggs thoroughly.

Cartons may be reused however all non-pertinent information must be defaced from the carton (i.e. original processor's name/address, any graded information, dates, etc.) The safe handling statement can remain intact. Reused cartons should be in sound condition and free from any visible dirt.

For more information and the link to request and inspection form:
Click for step-by-step instructions on registration

For non-small egg operators and processors who mange more than 500 birds, a Retail Food Establishment License is required.


FDA Egg Safety Rule Top of Page

FDA regulation requires Salmonella Enteritidis preventive measures in place during production and subsequent refrigeration during storage and transportation. The FDA Egg Rule applies to producers with 3,000 or more laying hens whose shell eggs are not being processed with a treatment, such as pasteurization.


Processed Poultry Sales Top of Page

If slaughtering and selling poultry from your farm, below are the inspection and license requirements.

In order to slaughter and sell poultry on your farm without an inspection or license, you must:

  • Grow and slaughter less than 1,000 birds annually
  • Birds must be grown, slaughtered and processed on the farm
  • Sold direct from farm to consumer or through an established HRI account (hotel, restaurant, institution)

A farm processing less than 20,000 birds per year and following the above bullet points, are exempt from inspection but a license from ODA is required. You may request a voluntary inspection and that is recommended.

See Ohio Revised Code 918.27 for more details


Selling poultry at a Farmer's Market Top of Page

  • Exempt from Farm Market registration if under the 1,000-bird exemption
  • Must register with the Farm Market with ODA if selling 2 or more foods considered "lower risk" as specified by ODA
  • Poultry must maintain frozen internal temperature of 41°F or less


Different State Requirements for Shipping Poultry Top of Page

When shipping poultry from Ohio to a different state, it is your responsibility to know what that specific state's import requirements are since they vary from state to state. Some states require additional testing and/or permits. See the following link for more details.
State Importation Requirements