Scientific Opinion on the public health hazards to be covered by inspection of meat (poultry)

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Acknowledgements

The Panels wish to thank the members of the Working Group on the public health hazards to be covered by inspection of meat from poultry: Rob Davies, Arie Havelaar, Tine Hald, Coralie Lupo, Birgit Noerrung and Antonia Ricci for the preparatory work on this scientific opinion and ECDC staff: Vicente Lopez and EFSA staff: Pablo Romero-Barrios, Giusi Amore and Ernesto Liebana; the members of the Working Group on meat inspection and contaminants: Johanna Fink-Gremmels, Reinhard Fries, Peter Fürst, Steve Mcorist and Michael O’Keeffe for the preparatory work on this scientific opinion and EFSA staff: Silvia Inés Nicolau Solano and Valeriu Curtui, and the members of the AHAW Working Group on meat inspection: Simon More, Donald Broom, Mariano Domingo, Frank Koenen, Mo Salman, Moez Sanaa, Martin Wierup and the hearing experts Michel Virginie and Desiree Jansson for the preparatory work on this scientific opinion and EFSA staff: Milen Georgiev and Ana Afonso, for the support provided to this scientific opinion.

Panel on Biological Hazards
Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain
Panel on Animal Health and Welfare
EFSA Journal
EFSA Journal 2012;10(6):2741 [179 pp.].
doi
10.2903/j.efsa.2012.2741
Panel members at the time of adoption
BIOHAZ Panel: Olivier Andreoletti, Herbert Budka, Sava Buncic, John D Collins (posthumous), John Griffin, Tine Hald, Arie Havelaar, James Hope, Günter Klein, Kostas Koutsoumanis, James McLauchlin, Christine Müller-Graf, Christophe Nguyen-The, Birgit Noerrung, Luisa Peixe, Miguel Prieto Maradona, Antonia Ricci, John Sofos, John Threlfall, Ivar Vågsholm and Emmanuel Vanopdenbosch
Type
Opinion of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel
On request from
European Commission
Question Number
EFSA-Q-2010-01469
EFSA-Q-2011-00110
EFSA-Q-2011-00019
Adopted
23 May 2012
Published
29 June 2012
Last Updated
10 July 2012. This version replaces the previous one/s.
Affiliation
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy
Note
Abstract

A qualitative risk assessment identified Campylobacter spp., Salmonella spp. and ESBL/AmpC gene-carrying bacteria as the most relevant biological hazards in the context of meat inspection of poultry. As none of these are detected by traditional visual meat inspection, establishing an integrated food safety assurance system, achievable through improved food chain information (FCI) and risk-based interventions, was proposed. This includes setting targets at carcass level and, when appropriate, flock level indicating what should be achieved for a given hazard. Elements of the system would be risk categorisation of flocks based on FCI and classification of abattoirs according to their capability to reduce carcass faecal contamination. It is proposed that post-mortem visual inspection is replaced by setting targets for the main hazards on the carcass, and by verification of the food business operator’s hygiene management, using Process Hygiene Criteria. Chemical substances that might occur in poultry were ranked into four categories of potential concern based on pre-defined criteria. Dioxins, dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls, chloramphenicol, nitrofurans and nitroimidazoles were ranked as being of high potential concern. Chemical substances in poultry, however, are unlikely to pose an immediate or acute health risk for consumers. Sampling for chemical residues and contaminants should be based on the available FCI. Moreover, control programmes should be better integrated with feed controls and regularly updated to include new and emerging substances. Meat inspection is recognised as a valuable tool for surveillance and monitoring of specific animal health and welfare conditions. If visual post-mortem inspection is removed, other approaches should be applied to compensate for the associated loss of information on the occurrence of animal disease and welfare conditions. Extended use of FCI has the potential to compensate for some, but not all, of the information on animal health and welfare that would be lost if visual post-mortem inspection is removed.

Keywords
Meat inspection, poultry, slaughterhouse, surveillance, safety, ante-mortem, post-mortem, contaminants, residues
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Number of Pages
179