Facility Guidelines

The following guidelines have been developed to assist in the building or remodeling of official establishments. Some of these are regulatory requirements to prevent contamination and others are mentioned to facilitate easier maintenance and cleaning. Requirements will vary depending on the structure and intended use of the facility. Refer to 9 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 416.2 for federal guidance on establishment grounds and facilities, 9 CFR 416.3 for guidance on equipment and 9 CFR 313.1 and 313.2 for guidance on livestock pens. Refer to SCMPID Guidance Document 111 (PDF), for proven examples of facility designs that will meet regulatory requirements. Please consult your Area Supervisory team for assistance related specifically to your business.


Adequate space shall be provided in each department so that each operation can be conducted in an orderly, safe and sanitary manner. Shared kitchens or residences cannot meet regulatory requirements.

Inspector’s Office

Space shall be provided for a file of required in-plant records and storage of inspection equipment (coats, helmets and boots). An active electrical outlet for inspector use is required. In slaughter facilities, space for the official inspection stamp must be provided where it can be locked by the inspector.

Welfare Area

The establishment must provide an adequate area or room, separate from edible product departments, for employee clothes storage and lunch breaks.

 Water and Sewage Disposal

Water supply and sewage disposal systems must be approved by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Plant Drainage

All rooms except freezer and dry storage rooms should have floor drains sufficient for the type of operations and cleaning performed. No standing water is allowed so that sanitary conditions are maintained. Drainage lines must be properly vented to the outside and equipped with effective rodent screens. Drainage lines from toilet bowls and urinals must have proper back-flow valves.


Must be constructed of durable, water-resistant, easily cleaned materials. Must be coved at juncture of floor and walls. Must not have low spots that collect liquid. Must be free of cracks and holes. Must drain adequately to prevent insanitary conditions.

Interior Walls & Ceilings

Must be constructed of impervious, easily cleaned material, smooth and flat, free of cracks or holes.

Doorways and Doors

All doorways must be of adequate size to facilitate product flow and passage while preventing product contamination. Exterior doorways must to be pest/rodent proof. Air curtains recommended to prevent pest entry in frequently used exterior doors. A vestibule is required for exterior doorways leading directly into processing areas.


Lighting of good quality and sufficient intensity to ensure that sanitary conditions are maintained, and that product is not adulterated must be provided in areas where food is processed, handled, stored, or examined; where equipment and utensils are cleaned; and in hand-washing areas, dressing and locker rooms, and toilets.


Adequate means for ventilation from windows, skylights, or mechanical means such as air conditioning, or a fan and duct system, should be provided in workrooms and welfare areas. Should be sufficient to control condensation, odors and vapors, prevent adulteration of product and prevent creation of insanitary conditions. Windows and coverings need to be pest and rodent proof.


Refrigeration units must ensure adequate temperatures are maintained. Floor-type refrigeration must set within a curbed and separately drained area or be placed adjacent to floor drains. Wall coils or hanging refrigeration units must sufficiently prevent or manage condensation.  Drip pans and drain pipes must function properly.


Equipment used for preparing or storing product must be suitable to its intended use. It must be of acceptable materials and construction to be easily cleaned and sanitized. It must not adulterate product. It must not constitute a hazard to the health and safety of the inspectors or establishment employees.

Processing Area

Product flow should be from raw product to finished. Raw processing areas should be kept at a temperature of less than or equal to 50 F., or establishment should have a mid-shift cleanup. Must have other than hand-operated washbasin, a liquid soap dispenser, a disposable towel dispenser, and receptacle for used towels. Must have a sink to wash utensils and small equipment (this can be in other than processing area). Cutting and boning boards must be of approved material, and easily removed for cleaning. All shelves, storage racks, etc., should be of approved material and raised or movable for ease of cleaning underneath.

Inedible Product Area

Should be suitably located to avoid odors. If inedible material is not disposed of daily, it must be refrigerated. If connected to kill floor, it should have a door. Means must be provided for denaturing of inedible product. There must be a floor drain present of sufficient size to adequately handle fluids present in inedible products and used for cleaning and sanitizing.

Livestock Pens

Must be built and maintained to meet all current humane handling regulations. Should be large enough to hold the maximum number of animals to be slaughtered in a single day. Must have suitable suspect pen. Must have suitable drainage facilities. Suspect pen, squeeze pen, and ante-mortem inspection area must be located under a roof sufficient to protect from adverse weather. Concrete pens must be cleaned regularly to avoid creation of unsafe or unhealthy conditions for livestock. Must provide a constant source of accessible water at all times in all holding pens. Animals held longer than 24 hours must have access to feed.


Cattle bleeding rail must be of sufficient height to prevent contamination of carcasses. Rails should not be positioned over tables, equipment work areas, etc., and should be at least 2 ft. from all walls or posts. Header rail should be 3 ft. from wall and posts. Rails must be maintained to remain free from rust and prevent contamination of carcasses.

Slaughter Area

Must have a sterilizer. Must have a viscera truck or pan. Must have other than hand-operated washbasin, liquid soap dispenser, disposable towel dispenser, and receptacle for used towels. All shelves, storage racks, etc., should be of approved material and raised or movable for ease of cleaning underneath.

Toilet Room

Must be equipped with sanitary flush-type toilet, sink, liquid soap dispenser, disposable towel dispenser, and receptacle for used towels.

Storage Areas

Adequate space for storage must be available. No items stored directly on the floor. Must be maintained to facilitate cleaning and inspection.

Shipping and Receiving Docks  

Must prevent contamination of product during shipping and receiving, prevent access and harborage of pests in the facility.