Industry bodies help develop animal health and welfare

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has revised a list of conditions to be recorded by Meat Hygiene Inspectors (MHI) in abattoirs. 

This is part of a project that the FSA is working on, alongside the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and other government departments and industry players, with the purpose of communicating meat inspection results, as well as improving public health and animal health and welfare.

“The aim of this initiative is to help us work better with livestock producers and processors to ensure better public health and animal health and welfare,” said FSA programme lead Ramon Romero. “Improving the exchange of accurate and reliable data will allow producers, farmers and the FSA to respond quickly and act upon it.”

The work first started in November 2015. So far, the FSA has introduced an IT platform for MHIs to record and communicate results. It has also enforced this new set of conditions on a national level, with only pigs and wild game remaining to be encompassed at the beginning of next year.

Members of the industry have even developed their own IT systems, which will be integrated with the FSA’s to ensure correlation and immediate aggregated data, giving them the freedom to react as quickly as possible.

“The industry has long called for consistent and accurate abattoir feedback on key production diseases and conditions,” commented John Royle, chief livestock adviser. “We applaud the FSA for providing the leadership and adopting a genuine partnership approach to deliver CCIR for the industry. We know this will take time to deliver across all processing businesses, but the benefits for livestock producers could be significant as we all seek to maintain profitable businesses at a time of much uncertainty.”

Ensuring there is robust animal traceability in processing establishments is the next step in creating a successful exchange of post-mortem data. The FSA said that it, alongside the rest of the industry, needed to have confidence that the conditions recorded by MHIs in abattoirs properly related to the animals present, ensuring the industry communicated with the correct producers and veterinarians.

The agency revealed it was currently exploring, with AHDB and Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, different traceability and reporting methods in various abattoirs across England and Wales, with the aim of utilising and enhancing existing processes to reduce the unnecessary use of industry and FSA resources.

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