FSA and AHDB team up to deliver better health and animal welfare practices

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is undergoing consultations on a new system of data collection and communication for meat hygiene inspectors in the hopes of assisting the meat industry in identifying animal health and welfare issues more efficiently.

The Collection and Communication of Inspection Results (CCIR) system is being overseen by the FSA with the help of the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

The two bodies are working closely with other representatives from within the meat industry, including producers, processors and other governmental departments, in reviewing the data collected by meat hygiene inspectors at post-mortem inspection.

The FSA and AHDB recognise the paramount importance of the health of the UK national herd, said Ramon Romero, the FSA programme lead.

A healthy national herd is good for the consumer and also helps drive UK exports. The current system has been effective in protecting consumers, but we know it can be more efficient, particularly around how the inspection results are shared, so problems can be addressed more quickly.

He said the industry meetings had been very productive, with primary producers and veterinarians being particularly specific with the sort of information that they require, especially about findings focusing on parasitic conditions, pneumonia and other conditions that affect the health and welfare of animals.

Following meetings with the meat industry stakeholders, the FSA has agreed to update the list of post-mortem rejection conditions, the health or welfare conditions that stop animals going into the food chain, he added.

The list is being updated 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.

Ouafa Doxon, AHDB Beef & Lambs collection and communication of inspection results project manager, commented; This is an important milestone in the collection and communication of inspection results that can be of significant benefit for beef and lamb producers.

Fiona Steiger, from the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA), praised the FSA on reforming the CCIR system and in making it more useful for processors and producers. The project is moving quickly and there have been useful meetings, with industry-wide participation, to develop the list of conditions that need to be recorded at inspection for both public and animal health reasons, she said.

Everyone is working towards developing a system that makes recording conditions easier for meat hygiene inspectors and results in more consistent and accurate information being relayed back to producers.

"The FSA and AHDB are working with processors to finalise the recording aspects of the system and how the FSA recording system will interface with abattoirs management systems.

Those interested in responding to the consultation should contact ramon.romero@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk.

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