LD 709
Session - 127th Maine Legislature
LR 23
Item 1
Bill Tracking, Additional Documents Chamber Status

An Act Regarding the Regulation of Rabbit Production for Local Consumption

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. 22 MRSA §2517-E  is enacted to read:

§ 2517-E Slaughter and inspection; producer exemptions for rabbits

1 Exemption for processing fewer than 1,000 rabbits annually.   Notwithstanding section 2512 and whether or not the rabbits are intended for human consumption, inspection is not required for the slaughter of rabbits or the preparation of rabbit products as long as the rabbits are slaughtered by the producer that raised the rabbits and the rabbit products are prepared on the farm where the rabbits were raised and:
A Fewer than 1,000 rabbits are slaughtered annually on the farm;
B No rabbits are offered for sale or transportation in interstate commerce;
C Any rabbit products sold are sold only as whole rabbits;
D The rabbit producer is registered under section 2515;
E The rabbit producer assigns a lot number to all rabbits sold and maintains a record of assigned lot numbers and the point of sale;
F The rabbits are sold in accordance with the restrictions in subsection 2;
G The rabbits are sold at the farm on which the rabbits were raised or delivered to a consumer's home by the rabbit producer; and
H The rabbit products are labeled with:

(1) The name of the farm, the name of the rabbit producer and the address of the farm including the zip code;

(2) The number of the registration issued to the rabbit producer in accordance with section 2515 and the lot number for the rabbit products pursuant to paragraph E;

(3) The statement "Exempt under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 22, section 2517-E NOT INSPECTED." The statement must be prominently displayed with such conspicuousness that it is likely to be read and understood; and

(4) Safe handling and cooking instructions as follows: "SAFE HANDLING INSTRUCTIONS: Keep refrigerated or frozen. Thaw in refrigerator or microwave. Keep raw rabbit meat separate from other foods. Wash working surfaces, including cutting boards, utensils and hands, after touching raw rabbit meat. Cook thoroughly to an internal temperature of at least 160° Fahrenheit maintained for at least 15 seconds. Keep hot foods hot. Refrigerate leftovers immediately or discard."

2 Restrictions on point of sale.   Rabbit products sold under this section may only be sold by the rabbit producer and in the following locations or manner:
A At the farm on which the rabbits were raised;
B At a farmers' market as defined in Title 7, section 415;
C Delivered to a consumer’s home by the rabbit producer whose name and license number appear on the label under subsection 3;
D Received by a person who is a member of a community supported agriculture farm that has a direct marketing relationship with the rabbit producer. For the purposes of this section, "community supported agriculture" means an arrangement whereby individual consumers have agreements with a farmer to be provided with food or other agricultural products produced on that farm;
E To a locally owned grocery store; or
F To a locally owned restaurant.
3 Rules.   The commissioner shall adopt rules to establish requirements for the physical facilities and sanitary processes used by rabbit producers whose products are exempt from inspection under this section. Rules adopted under this subsection are major substantive rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A.
4 Enforcement.   The commissioner shall enforce the provisions of this section.
5 Violation; penalty.   A person who violates this section is subject to penalties under section 2524.


This bill permits rabbit producers to sell rabbit products without inspection at the farm on which the rabbits were raised, at farmers' markets, by delivery to consumers' homes, to community supported agriculture farms with which the rabbit producer has a direct marketing relationship, to locally owned grocery stores and to locally owned restaurants.

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