BERLIN – After a month-long hiatus, cattle owners in southern Jersey can BYONA again.
It’s bringing your own animals uninspected – to slaughter, that is.
Starting this month, Bringhurst Meats reinstated their bespoke cattle processing program, once again becoming the only place in South Jersey where residents can get their cows and pigs to be slaughtered and packaged to their own specifications, without requiring of USDA animal inspections, for personal consumption.
âIt’s for the owner of the animal, for his own use or that of his family, and it’s a growing part of the business that is becoming more and more mainstream,â said Jeff Bringhurst, owner of second generation of Bringhurst Meats. Sitting behind his desk in the principal’s office, he wore a long white butcher’s coat.
âSince they are the owner of the animal, they can have it personalized,â he added. “We do beef, pork, veal, lamb, goats and we’ve even had alpaca lately.”
In August 2012, Bringhurst abandoned its USDA-inspected livestock processing program, which saw the small processing plant and butcher’s counter supply meat to national grocery chains, in favor of focusing solely on its personalized activities.
Opened by his father and uncle in 1934, Bringhurst said his establishment had provided personalized services for almost 80 years, and then began slaughtering USDA inspected cattle in 1975. However, Bringhurst added that he found the USDA’s federal regulations too costly, and in August of last year he found himself distracted from the other half of his business.
âSo we decided to focus only on what we started with,â he said. âSo now we only do custom and retail. “
USDA law allows exemptions from federal inspection in personal and custom slaughter cases. The resulting cuts of meat must be marked “not intended for retail sale” or “not intended for resale” and are intended for consumption by the owner of the animal and his household or guests.
Bringhurst’s premises are regularly inspected by Camden County health officials as required by law, the owner noted. The establishment also operates a retail catering business and butcher’s counter, but these meats are supplied by other establishments.
From January to the end of November 2012, Bringhurst estimated that its facility had slaughtered over 1,800 uninspected animals for custom orders, out of a total of 2,500 processed animals for the entire year.
However, Bringhurst temporarily canceled their personalized program in late November in anticipation of the property being sold.
âBut it didn’t work out, so now we’re going back to personalized treatment this month,â he said. âWe’re the only ones doing this in South Jersey, and the only other I know of in New Jersey is Arctic Foods. [in Warren County].
“We know there are a lot of people who have had to move out of state, Pennsylvania, to get there.”
A January newsletter released by the New Jersey Farm Bureau highlighted the potential concern while announcing the butcher’s return to uninspected custom orders.
“Prior to this announcement, small-scale cattle ranchers were widely concerned that the loss of Bringhurst could have a statewide ripple effect, forcing long-distance haulage to out-of-state facilities,” the report read. office statement.
Bringhurst, who employs 19 workers at the facility, admitted to providing a “new” service to livestock owners.
“It’s a different case,” he said. âA lot of people here don’t even know we’re here.
“There aren’t a lot of those kinds of places around.”
Contact Jason Laday at 856-845-3300 ext. 228 or [email protected]