Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Damning report highlights traceability issues at knackeries, cattle shot by untrained staff

  • No procedures in place to verify that animals did not die as a result of a disease that could transfer to humans or animals.
  • Animals being shot on-sites by untrained staff
  • Fundamental deficiencies relating to the staining and labelling of Animal by Products
  • In one establishment, significant volumes of tripe, packed in plastic bags, were stored in a large refrigerated container with no traceability as to where it came from.
The FSAI audited several businesses that collect animals which have died on farms or animals that have been rejected for human consumption by slaughter houses. Stock image.
The FSAI audited several businesses that collect animals which have died on farms or animals that have been rejected for human consumption by slaughter houses. Stock image.
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

A damming report published by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has highlighted traceability issues and a lack of standards in the handling of animal by-products at a host of knackeries around the country.

Failings at knackeries, which handle animals not intended for human consumption, included inadequate traceability levels, insufficient controls to ensure animal by-products could not end up in the human food chain and fundamental deficiencies relating to the staining and labelling of such products.

While there was no suggestion that animal by-product meat was ending up in the human food chain, animal by-products being handled by these processors must be treated according to certain regulations to help identify it. 

One site, which was feeding animal by-products to dogs, was found to have such meat labelled with an approval mark indicating it was fit for human consumption when it was not.

The FSAI also found that in one collection centre shot animals on-site but operating procedures were not available and staff had not been trained on this practice.

It found in a number of establishments there were no controls in place for some animal by-products and said the effectiveness of official controls applied in knackeries should be reviewed so the risk of animal by-products entering the human food chain is minimised.

The FSAI said some of the businesses audited did not have procedures in place to verify that animals were not killed or did not die as a result of the presence or suspected presence of a disease communicable to humans or animals.

In addition, it hit out at the Department of Agriculture for not putting in place a system of official controls to verify that this requirement is being complied with.

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Meat for dogs

Part of the audit focused on the sale of animal by-products to establishments feeding such meat to dogs, e.g. hunts and greyhound owners and how the business operators in this sector of the animal by-product supply chain complied with their legal requirements.

In a series of inspections by the FSAI in 2016, the details of which were released this month, of intermediate plants, hauliers, establishments feeding animal by-product meat to dogs (hunts and greyhound owners), fundamental deficiencies relating to the staining and labelling of products were identified.

The audit team inspected three intermediate plants that use animal by-products for feeding to their own dogs only.

Of those three establishments, two establishments used very little dye but dye was present on-site and one establishment was compliant with the dying requirements.

In two establishments, when samples of bagged minced animal by-product meat were taken from the freezer/chill and opened, there was no dye on the minced meat.

Three establishments delivered chopped animal by-products in barrels or wheelbarrows to establishments that feed animal by-product meat to dogs and the animal by-product was not bagged.

One intermediate plant delivered carcase sides and legs with no denaturing to an establishment feeding animal by-product meat to dogs.

The FSAI audit team also found evidence of carcases that had been eviscerated (disembowel) in one intermediate plant - a practise that is strictly prohibited.

In another establishment, significant volumes of tripe, packed in plastic bags, were stored in a large refrigerated container and there was no traceability documentation available to document where it came from.

Labelling

The audit team also had access to documentation and traceability information at nine intermediate plants.

It said that in all establishments, while efforts were being made by the businesses to maintain records, reconciliation of records was not possible.

In one intermediate plant in particular, it found that there were significant non-compliances in relation to traceability, there were no documented procedures in place and the business operator did not have a record of the stock held on-site.

In its response to the audit findings the Department of Agriculture said number of measures have already been implemented or are in the process of being implemented, with a view to addressing the findings.

These include updated conditions of approval for establishments that handle ABPs, meetings with knackery operators to raise awareness of the need for high standards at knackeries, enhancement of official controls and enhanced arrangements for issuing meat feeding licences.


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