Clean Livestock for High Food Standards

In order to sustain high food standards across the country as a whole it is important to have high standards within each livestock farm. Working within the framework of The Clean Livestock Policy allows farms to maintain a framework of high standards, within which they can utilise the experience and high quality of disinfectant and cleaning products that are developed and created with the specific intention of use on livestock farms. With this type of backing from an independent source it can be hugely beneficial to the health of a livestock herd, maintaining high health standards for the animals, high food standards for the consumer, and healthy profits for the farm and the industry as a whole.

The Clean Livestock Policy was created as a way of ensuring that there was an industry-wide approach that was consistent in how animals were categorised when presented for slaughter. In the process it was deemed that this would lower the risk of food poisoning passing on to the consumer through bacteria on the dirty coats and fleeces of sheep and cattle that were being sent to slaughter houses for public consumption further along the chain.

The policy was published in September 1997 by the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) in direct response to a fatal outbreak of E.Coli in Scotland that occurred in 1996. The problem of bacteria entering the food chain through slaughter houses was discussed, as a slaughter house can potentially be contaminated quite easily when a coat or fleece is being removed from an animal, especially if wet.

The Inspection phase of the process ensures that food business operators inspect slaughter houses to ensure they are working under impeccably clean conditions at all times. If any unacceptable risk of contamination is found on site, the slaughter of animals with a view for human consumption cannot take place on site until it has been thoroughly cleaned. Verification checks take place to ensure that operator procedures are all above board, and the aim is to prevent the contamination of meat, reducing the risks to public health through the food chain. Any animal that does not meet these strict requirements will be rejected at the point of slaughter, rather than risk the contamination breaching the food chain.

There are five categories for identifying the cleanliness of cattle and sheep, ranging from clean and dry to filthy and wet. Only those within categories one and two (including clean and dry, slightly dirty, and dry or damp) can proceed to slaughter for human consumption without any further action.

The food business operator is responsible for the production of safe food for human consumption since the implementation of the 2006 EU Food Hygiene Regulations. This ensures that appropriate controls are put in place to demonstrate that food safety is being managed within their operation – including the cleanliness of animals at the point of slaughter.

It is vital that you adhere to the regulations for cleanliness of livestock in order to provide a high and consistent standard that works into the food chain for public consumption.

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