European Communities (Food and Feed Hygiene) Regulations, 2005 require that primary food producers and feed producers be registered with the Department of Agriculture. Certain activities must be specifically licensed.
The general EU regulation on food business operators and the hygiene of food stuff is applicable at all stages of production from processing, distribution, export to retail. It supplements the more specific requirements on food hygiene and other aspects of food safety.
The regulation does not apply to production for domestic use, domestic preparation and storage of food for domestic consumption, direct supply by producers of small produce of primary produce to a final consumer or local retail establishments directly supplying to the final consumer.
Food business operators whose business involves primary production and associated operations must comply with general food hygiene requirements laid down in the EU Regulation.
Primary production is production by rearing and growing primary products including harvesting, milking, and production prior to slaughter. It includes hunting, fishing and harvesting of wild produce.
Primary products or products of primary production including products of the soil, of stock farming, hunting and fishing. It would not include fresh meat which is post slaughter.
The rules applicable to primary production are set out in the above regulation. They cover operations associated with primary production including the storage and transport, handling of primary products at the place of production, provided this does not substantially alter their nature and the transport of live cattle where this is necessary to achieve the objectives of the regulation.
Food business operators must ensure that primary products are protected against contamination having regard to any processing that they will undergo afterwards. Those rearing , harvesting and hunting animals and producing primary products by FBOs are to take appropriate measures to ensure the cleanliness of animals going to slaughter and where necessary production animals. They must where necessary after clean and disinfect equipment, containers, crates, vehicles and vessels.
Food business operators must ensure that staff handling food stuff are in good health and undergo training in relation to health risks. Where operating at any stage of production, processing or distribution of food after the above stages, food business operators must comply with the requirements set out in the annexes to the regulations as well as other specific requirements which may be applicable.
Food business operators must maintain records in relation to measures put in place to deal with risks and hazards for an appropriate period, relative to the size and nature of the business. The information must be available to the competent authority on inspection and request.
Food business operators with rear animals that produce primary products of animal origin must keep records of
- the nature of origin of feed fed to the animals.
- veterinary medicinal products or other treatment administered dates of administration and withdrawal periods.
- diseases that may affect the safety of products of animal origin
- results of analysis carried out on samples taken from animals and other samples taken for diagnostic purposes which may impact on human health
- relevant reports and checks carried out on animals or products of human origin.
The regulation sets out specific requirements for meat of domestic ungulates, bovine species, ovine and caprine animals and domestic solipeds.
Pressed meat is meat that has not undergone a preserving process other than chilling, freezing or quick freezing. It includes meat which is vacuum wrapped or wrapped in a controlled atmosphere.
There are provisions relating to the transport of live animals to slaughterhouses, requirements for slaughterhouses, requirements for cutting plants, slaughter hygiene, hygiene during cutting and boning, emergency slaughter, storage and transport.
Food business operators may place products of animal origin on the market only where they have been prepared and handled exclusively in establishments that meet the requirements of the regulation and other requirements of food law and that they are duly registered where required or the competent authority has approved the food business.
Food business operators transporting live animals to slaughterhouses must ensure that during collection and transport animals are handled carefully without causing unnecessary distress. Animals which show symptoms of diseases or originating in herds known to be contaminated with diseases of public health importance may only be transported when the competent authority so permits.
Food business operators must ensure that the construction layout of equipment of slaughterhouses in which domestic ungulates, porcine, ovine and caprine animals and domestic solipeds are slaughtered have adequate hygienic lairage facilities or climate permitting wetting pens that are easy to clean and disinfect. They must be equipped for watering the animals and feeding when necessary. Drainage of waste water must not adversely affect food safety.
They must have separate lockable facilities or climate permitting pens for sick or suspect animals which separate draining arranged in such a way as to avoid contamination of other animals unless a competent authority considers it unnecessary.
The size of the lairage facilities must ensure that the welfare of animals is respected. The layout must facilitate ante-mortem inspections including identification of animals and groups of animals.
There must be a sufficient number of rooms appropriate to the operations being carried out. There must be separate rooms for emptying and cleaning of stomachs and intestines unless separation is authorised otherwise by the competent authority.
There must be separation in time and space for stunning and bleeding, scalding, depletion, scraping, singeing, evisceration and further dressing in the case of porcine animals, handling guts and tripe, preparation and cleaning of offal, packaging offal and dispatching meat.
Food business operators must have insulation preventing contact between meat and the floors, walls and fixtures. They must have slaughter lines that are designed to allow constant progress for operations of the slaughter in process and to avoid cross contamination. They must be adequately separated where there is more than one.
They must have facilities for disinfecting tools with hot water at least 82 degree Celsius. There must be equipment for hand washing for those staff engaged in handling exposed meat. There must be lockable facilities for refrigerated storage of detained meat and separate facilities for meat declared unfit for human habitation.
There must be a separate place with appropriate facilities for cleaning, washing and disinfection of means of transport for livestock. There must be lockable facilities reserved for the slaughter of sick and suspect animals. The competent authority may authorise other ways.
They must start adequate equipped, lockable facility where needed for the exclusive use of veterinary service.
The HACCP procedures in slaughterhouses must guarantee that each animal or each lot of animals where appropriate, accepted into the slaughterhouse
- has been properly identified and is accompanied by the relevant information regarding provenance,
- does not come from an area subject to movement prohibition or restriction in the interest of animals or public.
- is clean.
- is healthy
- asfar as can be judged is in a satisfactory state as regards welfare on arrival.
If there is a failure in any of the above requirements, the business must notify the official veterinarian and take appropriate measures.
Food business operators which operate cutting plants, handling meat of domestic ungulates, porcine, ovine, caprine animals of domestic solipeds must ensure they are constructed to avoid contamination. This includes in particular by
- allowing constant progress of operations ensuring separation of different batches,
- room for separate storage of packages and exposed meat in most cases –
- cutting rooms to ensure compliance with specific requirements in the regulation.
- equipment for washing hands and other facilities for preventing spread of disease,
- facilities for disinfecting tools with water supply to at 82 Celsius.
Food business operators which operates slaughter houses in which domestic ungulates are slaughtered must comply with certain requirements set out in the regulation. Animals must not be unduly delayed on arrival on the slaughterhouse. Where necessary for welfare reasons, a resting period must be given before slaughter.
Meat other than the from certain categories mentioned below must not be used for human consumption if they die otherwise than being slaughtered in a slaughterhouse. The exceptions are for animals brought into the slaughterhouse having undergone an emergency slaughter outside the slaughterhouse in accordance with certain conditions, wild game subject to conditions. Meat from animals that undergo slaughter following an accident in a slaughterhouse may be used if on inspection, no serious lesions other than those due to the accident are found.
Animals or each batch of animals must be identified for reference to their origin. They must be cleaned.
Slaughterhouse operators must follow the instructions of the veterinarian appointed by the regulator to ensure ante-mortem inspection of every animal to be slaughtered is carried out under suitable conditions. Animals brought in to a slaughter halle must be slaughtered without due delay. Stunning, bleeding, skinning, evisceration and other dressing must be carried out without undue delay and in a manner that avoids contamination.
Parts of bodies intended for human consumption must be completely skinned except in the case of porcine animals and the heads of ovine and caprine animals and calves, and the feet of bovine, ovine and caprine animals calves.
Heads and feet must be handled so as to avoid contamination with other meat. If not skinned, porcine animals must have their bristles removed immediately. Carcasses must not contain viable faecal contamination. Any visible contamination must be removed without delay by trimming or alternative means having an equivalent effect.
Slaughterhouses must follow the instructions of the regulator to ensure that post mortem inspection of all slaughtered animals is carried out in accordance with the regulation. Until post-mortem inspection is completed, parts of the slaughtered animal subject to inspection must remain indentifiable as belonging to it and not coming into contact with any other carcass, offal, etc.
Certain internal organs must be removed.After post-mortem inspection certain other parts of the animal must be removed hygienically. Parts unfit for human consumption must be removed as soon as possible from the clean sector of the establishment. Meat which has been detained or condemned as unfit must not come into contact with other meat which has been approved.
After completion of slaughter and post mortem inspection, meat must be stored in accordance with requirements set out in the regulations on storage and transport.
Where establishments are approved for the slaughter of different animal species or for handling of carcasses and farm game and wild game, steps need to be taken to prevent cross contamination, by separation in time or location of the relevant processes and facilities.
If the slaughterhouse does not have lockable facilities reserved for the slaughter of sick or suspect animals the facilities concerned must be cleaned, washed and disinfected under official supervision before the slaughter of other animals is resumed.
Carcasses of domestic ungulates may be cut into half and quarter carcasses into no more than three wholesale cuts in slaughterhouses. Further cutting and boning must take place in a cutting plant.
Work on meat must be organised so as to prevent contamination. In particular, meat intended for cutting must be brought into the workhouse progressively as needed. During cutting, boning, trimming, slicing, dicing etc. meat must be maintained at defined cool temperatures. Where the establishment is approved for the cutting of meat of different species, precautions must be taken to avoid cross contamination. Certain derogation may apply subject to conditions.
Meat may also be boned and cut prior to reaching the temperature above when the cutting room is on the same site as the slaughter establishment. It must be transferred either directly or after a waiting period in a chilling or a refrigerating room. As soon as it is cut and packaged, if applicable it must be chilled to the specfied temperatures.
Food business operators may not place meat from animals having undergone emergency slaughter on the market unless it bears a special health mark. It may be placed solely on the market in member states where slaughter takes place in an accordance with national law.