Blue Hill at Stone Barns is a restaurant in New York where farmers and clients get to enjoy braised pork at affordable rates. The restaurant recently ranked as number 11 among the world’s best restaurants. Well, before you get served with the braised pork or the plate of ribs, the farm-to-table restaurants skip one small detail. It’s intentionally left out as other tales gets narrated. As a matter of fact, only a handful would appreciate a story of the slaughterhouse as they devour their delicacies.
Slaughtering is the most difficult job. Despite the demand for fresh products from the farms, there aren’t enough equipped slaughterhouses to keep up. The lack of these facilities keeps the supplies down and consequently; the prices goes up. As a result, the farmer’s jobs become much more challenging. Slaughtering all animals for food requires a visit to a USDA approved facility. Whereas the one serving Blue Hill is close –by, several farmers have to travel long distances to have their animals slaughtered. However, there is an exception for birds like chicken, turkey, and ducks where regulations state that they can get slaughtered on the site under state certified conditions.
According to a recent article on Bloomberg, there are not enough facilities to safely kill the animals. In 1967, there were 9,627 slaughtering establishments. However, the Congress passed regulations indicating that farmers or producers needed to use a USDA approved facility for them to trade across the states. Today, the number of approved facilities stands at 1,100. As a result, customers demand on free-range meat is on the rise as the approved facilities can’t keep up with the supply. Small slaughterhouses operators get faced with the financial challenge. They are unable to send representatives to trade seminars every time they arise. Therefore, they suffer the lack of know-how when different regulations get established.
Claims from the small slaughter operators indicate that they get intimidated by inspectors. Additionally, the non-compliance rate for bigger slaughterhouses is by far very high. As a result, there is a disproportional amount of enforcement between the small and large scale operators. It is therefore important to have several approved facilities to enhance timely and stress-free distribution of farmer’s products.A lot has to be done.