Food chain information and equines for slaughter for human consumption

Last updated:
27 February 2015
Food chain information (FCI) is required for horses, ponies and donkeys (these animals are collectively known as equines). This means, from 23 February 2015, it is necessary for anyone sending an equine for slaughter for human consumption to provide a model FCI document to the food business operator at the slaughterhouse, in accordance with existing requirements under EU law.

The requirement applies to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and is in addition to the passport for individual equines.

More about the requirement

The requirement will help ensure that equines do not enter the food chain if they have been treated with veterinary medicinal products not authorised for use in animals destined for human consumption.  It will also confirm that where veterinary medicinal products have been used the specified withdrawal periods have been met.  The requirement to provide FCI for equines applies until three years after 23 February 2015.

FCI has been introduced progressively for all animal species as required by Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 (laying down hygiene requirements for the production of food of animal origin). However, it was not introduced for equidae (members of the horse family) in the UK from January 2009 because the horse passport was considered to provide all the necessary information for food business operators.

In summary, the FCI equine requirement means:

  • FCI, in addition to the passport for individual equines, must accompany equines for slaughter for human consumption.
  • It is the responsibility of food business operators at slaughterhouses to request, receive, check and act on FCI for equines sent for slaughter for human consumption.
  • The FCI requires the person sending or presenting horses and other equines for slaughter to sign a declaration that they are free from veterinary medicines. Furthermore, they are responsible for associated costs of testing and disposal if subsequent testing proves the declaration to be untrue.
  • Any item of FCI, knowledge of which may result in serious disruption of slaughterhouse activity, must be made available to the food business operator operating the slaughterhouse in sufficient time before the animals arrive at the slaughterhouse.
  • FCI may arrive less than 24 hours before the arrival of the animals, but only if the competent authority so permits, and provided it does not jeopardise the objectives of Regulation 853/2004.

Further information

If you need more information from the FSA, contact details for England, Wales and Northern Ireland are below.

England

Paul Stubbington
Food Hygiene Policy Directorate
tel: 020 7276 8397
email: paul.stubbington@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

Wales

Jayne Griffiths
Food Policy Team
tel: 029 2067 8908
email: food.policywales@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

Northern Ireland

Billy Armstrong
Operational Policy and Delivery
Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland
tel: 028 9041 7741
billy.armstrong@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk