Polish poultry controls backed after FVO audit
The report described the system as ‘organised’ and said it was applied consistently across the poultry production chain.
However, some shortcomings were raised around controls regarding supervision and control of food additive use and mechanically separated meat labelling and issues found by the audit team but missed by the Polish controls.
The Veterinary Inspectorate (VI) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) is the competent authority responsible for official controls of poultry meat and products.
Poultry meat and products are controlled at retail level by the State Sanitary Inspectorate (SSI) under the Ministry of Health.
A poultry audit in 2010, part of a general work in Poland, concluded there was a comprehensive and documented control system but found some sanitary shortcomings such as deficiencies in implementation systems based on HACCP principles and some problems on enforcement measures in cases of non-compliances.
There have been 13 RASFF alert notifications linked with poultry meat products since the last FVO audit of which 11 were due to Salmonella presence (three in 2014).
The audit team visited three establishments whose products had triggered RASFF alert notifications in the last two years.
They reviewed measures taken by the competent authorities and the food business operators (FBOs) and noted in all cases, actions were prompt, comprehensive and effective concerning the contaminated product.
These actions included detection and seizure of products in question, recall from the market, rendering or heat treatment.
A separate FVO audit report revealed a delay in investigating a mechanically separate meat (MSM)-related issue by Poland led to 198 tonnes of non-compliant or illegal products being eaten.
HACCP and sampling plans
The audit team noted HACCP systems were in general under adequate official control.
However, they found the temperature of meat was not monitored during production in two cutting sites. This element was not included in either establishments’ HACCP system (meat was monitored at the end of chilling and again during storage).
In all establishments there was an FBO sampling plan. Microbiological analyses on products, water and surfaces were carried out in external accredited laboratories.
In one establishment (poultry slaughterhouse, cutting plan and meat preparations establishment), the audit team noted that several official samples that had been taken in recent years had tested positive for Salmonella serotypes.
In response the authority had increased the number of official controls and samples taken the following years. Specific hygiene measures (e.g. change of the disinfection agents used) and additional own-check sampling were requested.
“The audit team noted…that serious problems of hygiene still existed and several points in the process line that microbiological contamination of products could occur the majority of which had not been previously detected by the CA.
“In the cutting areas of two establishments, the temperature of meat, during the visit of the audit team was above 4ºC during cutting and wrapping with maximum temperature to be 6 ºC.
“In both cases the audit team noted that there was a backlog of meat during cutting leading to these deviations. The temperature of MSM (in one establishment visited) was between 6 and 7.1 ºC
“Potential contamination of ready-to-eat (RTE) product in a high risk area of an establishment where the products are sliced and packaged, as the bottom of the plastic containers were in contact with exposed final product.”
Where the audit team performed traceability exercises, the results were satisfactory and identification marks were applied in the establishments visited.
“However, the audit team noted that, in two of the establishments visited, when cut meat was wrapped and packaged in order to be dispatched to other establishments or when such meat was purchased by other cutting establishments, the identification mark was not applied to a label fixed (or printed) to the packaging or the wrapping material (when wrapping provided the same protection as packaging) or when affixed it was done in such way that the label would be destroyed during opening.”