Ensure clean stock to avoid additional cost at slaughter

Ensure clean stock to avoid additional cost at slaughter

Ensuring livestock meet rules on cleanliness at slaughter will help producers avoid incurring additional costs, according to EBLEX.

Producers are being advised to present only clean, dry stock for slaughter or risk paying more to satisfy additional controls. Additional costs could include clipping animals pre-slaughter or operating on a reduced kill line speed.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and industry recognise five levels of cleanliness for cattle and sheep, from one – clean and dry – to five – filthy and wet. Only animals in categories one and two can be slaughtered without restrictions.

Prior to slaughter, EBLEX has suggested that cattle and sheep are switched to a drier ration and are provided with adequate straw. Visible signs of dirt can also be removed by clipping as a final consideration. Producers should try to ensure hides and fleeces are dry to reduce the risk of spreading bacteria. Dagging sheep before introducing them to finishing diets is also advisable.

Dr Phil Hadley, EBLEX southern senior regional manager, said: “It’s that time of year when the cleanliness of stock being presented for slaughter becomes an increasing issue for processors. The FSA enforces hygiene controls in all abattoirs, with clear guidelines detailing cleanliness requirements of cattle and sheep at slaughter.

“Animals that fall outside of the recognised cleanliness guidelines are subject to additional restrictions, increasing costs for the processor which in turn may be passed back to the producer, resulting in reduced returns.”

· Further details on cleanliness requirements for livestock can be found at www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/farmingfood/cleancattleandmeatsafety/

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