Sheep meat inspection improvements on trial
A new list of post-mortem rejection conditions (conditions which result in all or part of a carcase being rejected for human consumption) is being trialled in a number of sheep abattoirs from today as part of a project to improve information exchange between animal producers and meat processors.
The trial, which also involves a new electronic system for the Collection and Communication of Inspection Results (CCIR), is taking place in 10 abattoirs across England and Wales. It is part of a joint project involving AHDB Beef Lamb and the Food Standards Agency (FSA), designed to develop a more efficient and effective approach to the farm-to-fork information cycle, with the aim of improving public health, animal health and animal welfare.
The new conditions are the result of a series of workshops on CCIR involving representatives from the meat industry, including producers and processors, which reviewed the data collected by Meat Hygiene Inspectors at post-mortem inspection. Participants in the meetings agreed on a list of rejection conditions to be trialled in a ‘live’ environment in order to gather feedback from the industry.
To support the overall objective of the project, AHDB has also been working closely with sheep and cattle processors on the use of standardised screen layouts for offal and carcases in cattle and sheep abattoirs, with the aim of facilitating accurate recording of post-mortem data.
AHDB CCIR Project co-ordinator Ouafa Doxon said: “It is essential that livestock arriving at slaughterhouses are healthy and that the highest welfare standards are maintained on farm and at slaughter, both in the interest of consumers at home and for the UK’s reputation in export markets.
“Having an effective system for CCIR is an important part of this and hopefully the developments we are currently trialling will be beneficial for both producers and processors.”
Ramon Romero, the FSA Programme Lead, said: “The current CCIR system has been effective in protecting consumers, but we know it can be more efficient, particularly around what inspection data is shared, so producers and processors can act on the problems identified efficiently.
“Following meetings with meat industry stakeholders, the FSA has updated the list of post-mortem rejection conditions to ensure each condition relates directly to public or animal health, or animal welfare. Ultimately the use of this data should increase efficiency and sustainability in the industry.
“I look forward to receiving the feedback from the 10 plants trialing the new list of conditions and the new CCIR IT reporting platform.”
Agreement on the new conditions is expected to be reached by the end of March. For more information about the project email firstname.lastname@example.org.