Food Law News - UK - 2001

FSA Letter, 4 April 2001

MEAT HYGIENE - The Fresh Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations 1995 (as amended) - Enhanced Throughput Under Regulation 4(11)(B) ("The Fleischmeister Provision")

Some low throughput slaughterhouses have asked the FSA whether they may be allowed to exceed the maximum throughput of 20 livestock units per week, to enable them to meet the demand for their services during the Foot and Mouth Disease emergency.

The limit of 20 livestock units per week for low throughput plants is set out in EU and domestic law and the Agency has to respect this provision. However the FSA has decided to accelerate arrangements which were being made to implement the so-called "Fleischmeister provision" in the Fresh Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations 1995 as amended (the Fresh Meat Regulations) which provides for the possibility of enhanced throughput provided certain conditions are met. The FSA hope that this will meet the needs of some low throughput slaughterhouses in the current circumstances.

In summary, regulation 4(11)(b) of the Fresh Meat Regulations (which implements article 4 C of Directive 91/497 as amended by Directive 95/23) provides for the possibility of low throughput slaughterhouses increasing their throughput to 30 livestock units per week, with a maximum of 1,500 units per year, in cases where the abattoir is either used by several operators slaughtering on their account at separate times, or used by one operator slaughtering on behalf of other butchers operating on their own account. This provision is subject to the following conditions:

This provision for enhanced throughput has not been used so far in the UK, mainly due to difficulties in identifying suitable training to enable applicants to comply with condition (ii) above. The FSA consider that this can now be resolved satisfactorily and also propose to allow an alternative avenue for experienced operators, who may be assessed on the basis of their proficiency in production hygiene.

The FSA stress that while the scheme for the licensed movement of animals for slaughter at approved slaughterhouses is in place under the Foot and Mouth Disease Declaratory (Controlled Area) (England and Wales) [(No4)] Order 2001, all slaughterhouses are subject to the additional approval arrangements required under that Order. Approvals are granted by the MHS acting on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. The MHS, acting on behalf of the Agriculture Minister, is having to deploy increased resources to carry out the additional checks. They will be required to agree with the MHS an operating protocol based on the additional checks to be done under the Order and the MHS resources available. he MHS will of course make all reasonable efforts to provide the required inspection service to cover the increased throughput in premises which become licensed to slaughter up to 30 livestock units per week under the "Fleischmeister" provision. However, while the Foot and Mouth Disease situation prevails, Any premises' ability to operate at the increased throughput level will therefore depend on the MHS having sufficient resources to provide the required inspection service.

As stated above, these arrangements are being introduced at short notice in view of the current FMD situation and may need to be refined at a later stage in the light of experience and any comments received.

Please send any comments to arrive no later than 30 June 2001.

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