The British Poultry Council (BPC) has welcomed a recent EFSA scientific opinion on poultry inspection.
The report, which outlines epidemiological indicators for food-borne biological hazards to public health, was released last month (June 2012) and offers the scientific opinion of the EFSA on hazards such as salmonella, campylobacter and AmpC beta-lactamase-producing E.coli in poultry meat production.
Chief executive of the British Poultry Council (BPC) Peter Bradnock said the report was a “positive and sensible” move towards enhancing the system of food safety controls applied to poultry meat in the EU.
In 2010 the European Commission (EUC) asked EFSA to investigate risk assessments on the hazards to the health of the public from current poultry meat inspection standards. EFSA was also tasked with recommending alternative approaches and improvements to the current poultry meat inspection system.
In a statement, the UK’s Food Standards Agency said they had “argued for some time” that the current system of official meat controls did not address the most relevant meat-borne pathogens of today, which they said were unable to be detected as they are microbiological and cannot be seen by the naked eye.
And Bradnock added: “We have long reasoned that the traditional visual inspection procedures enshrined in EU legislation for all species are inappropriate in the modern poultry industry. The approach needs to be modernised into a kind of intergrated food safety assurance system focusing on biological risk, which is being recommended in this option.”
Suggestions made by the report included a modernisation of poultry meat inspection and an improved use of shared information between farms and abattoirs (food chain information), which would also help to identify animal health and welfare issues.
The need for clear targets to be set for poultry carcases and flocks was one of the main recommendations given in the report for the control of biological hazards. But to do this, farmers and abattoirs need to utilise the control options available for hazards and focus on food chain information, said the report.