UK flags new rules to strengthen meat traceability

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: New rules, Livestock, Food standards agency

New supply chain regulations designed to beef up the ‘farm to fork’ traceability of cattle, sheep and goats sent to slaughter will come into force in the UK from the beginning of next year.

Slaughterhouse operators and livestock keepers will be obliged to provide Food Chain Information (FCI) for all cattle sheep and goats from 1 January 2010 under new European Union legislation, the Food Standards Agency said yesterday. The regulation will apply to all those animals sent either directly to slaughter or sold through livestock markets.

The agency cautioned that once the new rules come into force, meat from cattle, sheep or goats without FCI information will not be passed for human consumption, as it urged slaughterhouse operators to prepare for the changes now.

Food Chain Information

FCI is information about the health of the animals being sent for slaughter, and other information relevant to the safety of meat derived from them. It includes data about medicines the animals have been given.

The rules already been progressively applied across other species; poultry in 2006, pigs 2008 and calves and horses this year.

“The new rules are an important part of 'farm-to-fork' food safety controls and highlight the food safety responsibilities of livestock keepers in the meat production chain,” ​said a FSA statement. “The information about slaughter animals that is passed from the farm to the slaughterhouse can be used by operators and Official Veterinarians (OV) to make decisions about processing and inspection procedures.”

Documentation

The agency said it did not believe the change in law would cause difficulties as livestock farmers should already have the information required. It added the system will contribute to slaughterhouse operators’ HACCP-based food safety management systems by giving information about animals to be slaughtered.

FCI is also used by the Meat Hygiene Service to help it make decisions about meat and can be used to determine inspection procedures for animals and groups of animals.

The legislation does not lay down how slaughterhouses should receive FCI and operators can choose a format that best suits their business. Animal movement documents in Scotland will remain unchanged.

The minimum amount of FCI data that must be provided has been agreed between the FSA and industry players. Documents outlinin these can be downloaded via the following link

Related topics: Policy

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