Report Highlights:

The Mexican government and industry have invested significant resources in the development of federally inspected meat and poultry establishments since their beginnings in 1947. In recent years, the number of establishments has increased as consumer and industry awareness regarding the benefits of federal oversight has expanded. Industry and government leaders now claim that more than one-half of the meat and poultry produced and consumed in Mexico originates from such establishments.

General Information:

This report explores Mexico’s Federally Inspected Type (TIF) meat and poultry establishments regulated by The National Service of Health, Food Safety, and Food Quality (SENASICA). Generally, these establishments are abattoirs, processors, and cold storage warehouses for cattle, swine, sheep and goats, poultry, and horses and related products. TIF establishments are not the only operations managing the slaughter, processing, or storage of these species, as there are also private operators (without official oversight) and municipal operations regulated by local health inspectors working within Mexico.

Increasingly, TIF establishments are responsible for a greater percentage of the meat and poultry processed and consumed in Mexico. TIF establishments are perceived, increasingly, as superior in their sanitary practices and operational scale than other types of establishments in Mexico. Industry sources report that in 2005, TIF establishments handled 32 percent of the meat and poultry consumed in Mexico while in 2013, TIF establishments handled, reportedly, 51 percent of all meat or poultry consumed in the country.

SENASICA’s Verification, Monitoring, and Inspection of TIF Establishments

TIF operations fall under the regulatory authority of SENASICA’s General Direction for Food Safety, Aquaculture and Fisheries (DGIAAP). SENASICA provides permanent official or authorized personnel for food safety and zoonosis verification, monitoring and inspection in establishments receiving TIF certification. These establishments can be single or many species and can be occupying a number of single or multiple functions from slaughter to cutting and/or deboning to grinding for patty or sausage manufacturing and cold storage for warehousing of meat and poultry products. TIF establishments must comply with Mexican regulations related to animal or poultry slaughter, facility construction, equipment maintenance and processing procedures as prescribed in a series of Mexican regulations; including, NOM 008-ZOO-1994, NOM 009-ZOO-1994 and NOM 033-ZOO-1995. Moreover, these TIF establishments must establish Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP) programs.

According to SENASICA’s website, as of March 14, 2014, there were 405 TIF certified establishments throughout the country with most operations located close to production centers (e.g., Nuevo Leon, Jalisco, and Puebla had 71, 34, and 17 TIF establishments; respectively), or urban consumption areas (e.g., Mexico City and State of Mexico had 51 and 56 TIF establishments; respectively). 

TIF Slaughter Operations – Few Yet Powerful 

According to April 2013 information from The Food and Fisheries Statistics Service (SIAP) there were 113 certified TIF slaughter operations throughout the country whereas there were 844 municipal slaughter operations and 144 private slaughter operations. TIF type establishments represent less than 10 percent of total abattoirs but account for 87 percent of poultry, 63 percent of goat, 44 percent of swine and beef, 40 percent of equine, and 31 percent of sheep slaughter capacity. For major commodities like poultry, beef, and pork, these plants are greater utilized than private and municipal operations.

TIF Trading Meat and Poultry 

In addition to handling domestic origin product, TIF establishments also import meat and poultry from other countries; including a large share of the meat and poultry imported from the United States. A SENASICA official responsible for the oversight of inspection programs reported that 550 total Mexican companies sourced imported meat and poultry products in 2013. He indicated that of these 550 companies, 74 of them were TIF certified and that these establishments were responsible for 50 percent of all meat or poultry imports. In 2013, Mexico imported 1.85 million metric tons MMT of beef, pork, and poultry meat and offal that was valued at just under U.S. $4 billion. 

Additionally, most countries; including the United States, recognize only TIF establishments as equivalent to their own systems and, as such, only accept that Mexico export meat or poultry products from these establishments. A SENASICA official reported to FAS Mexico that 124 of the 405 TIF establishments in existence as of March 14, 2014, are eligible to export meat, poultry and related products to international markets. At this time, these TIF establishments are eligible to export animal origin products to nearly fifty countries.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) list of eligible Mexican establishments, as of March 14, 2014, there were 56 TIF establishments authorized to export meat or poultry to the United States. 

It is worth mentioning that Mexico is currently able to ship raw or thermally processed (i.e., pre-cooked) beef to the United States from all Mexican states provided that it is sourced and handled in the TIF plants considered eligible to export to the United States. Thermally processed pork (e.g, marinated, cooked and vacuum packed ribs or loins and pre-cooked hams) are eligible for export to the United States from all Mexican states and raw pork can come from the states recognized as free of classical swine fever provided that the products originate from approved TIF plants. At present, as there is no equivalence for poultry slaughter between the United States and Mexico. As such, only processed poultry originating from the United States or other countries free of high pathogenic avian influenza and exotic Newcastle disease is eligible for export to the United States from Mexico’s recognized TIF plants. 

A Novel Opportunity for TIFs Importing Meat and Poultry 

The SENASICA General Direction for Fitozoosanitary Inspection (DGIF) recognizes the safety and operational safeguards that TIF establishments follow and, consequently, established a special, trusted user program called “Usuario Confiable” (UCON) whereby eligible TIF establishments can gain approval to import meat and poultry products from foreign countries and have those materials bypass physical inspection that normally occurs at the border. Establishments in the UCON program can have, instead, their imported products examined at the TIF destination in lieu of the border. 

UCON remains a voluntary program that was announced first time in the Mexican Federal Register on May 28, 2010. Although the program has almost a 4-year history, only about 10 TIF establishments have signed up for the program as the perceived risk of back hauling to the border, destroying, or re-conditioning a rejected load of meat or poultry seems to outweigh the benefits of the program which are principally an expedited border crossing and, also, fewer disruptions to the cold chain. Some industry sources report that TIF firms may be more interested in UCON as inspection volumes grow, wait times increase, and if Mexican authorities also make meaningful changes to regulatory inspection requirements specified by NOM-030-ZOO-1995. 

Association of National TIF Establishments (ANETIF)

ANETIF is the Mexican industry association advocating on behalf of all TIF members in issues related to the development of legislation, regulations, and industry standards. The organization often advocates in international arenas for expanding Mexico export opportunities or is consulted for its perspectives during the development of trade agreements which could impact Mexican meat and poultry industry members. ANETIF also has a foundation that supports its members and provides information on market trends and developments