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Mema’s Meats in Berthold is the newest North Dakota company operating under the State Meat and Poultry Inspection Program.

“Mema’s Meats has met all requireme­nts for the meat inspection program,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “Their business will help fill an increased demand for local meat processing.”

Owners Phil and Kim Newman were looking to start a sustainable business that would fill a much-needed gap in North Dakota, so they decided to convert their existing truck shop into a butcher shop. They started operating their business in December and had their first inspected day on Feb. 18.

The Newmans decided to go through the process to become a state-inspected plant so they could offer customers locally raised beef and pork through their storefront. They plan to process 15-18 beef per week and several swine.

Meat processing plants, accredited by the state inspection program, can sell their products wholesale to other retail establishments. Meat and poultry products that have been processed under state inspection can be sold on a wholesale or retail basis anywhere in North Dakota. After operating as an official state establishment for at least three months, plants are eligible to apply for the Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program, which allows them to ship anywhere in the United States.

State Meat Inspection Director Dr. Andrea Grondahl and other meat inspection staff from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) helped the Newmans meet regulatory requirements, including a written Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs).

HACCP is a science-based approach to manufacturing food products. The goal behind the HACCP program is to identify the crucial steps in the manufacturing process and to gain complete control over those places where a danger of microbiological, physical or chemical contamination exists. SSOPs outline the procedures for maintaining overall plant sanitation, including daily cleaning, regularly scheduled maintenance, food handling practices and employee hygiene.

Goehring said 16 North Dakota companies now operate under the State Meat & Poultry Inspection Program. NDDA also inspects 74 custom exempt facilities in the state, which process private game and livestock.

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