Poultry post mortem inspection by plant inspection assistants without the permanent presence of official veterinarians

Last updated:
28 June 2010
This research will examine the risk of amending the requirement for 100% OV presence during post-mortem inspection of poultry, when PIAs are carrying out post-mortem inspection.
Study duration: June 2010 to December 2010
Project code: MC1004
Contractor: Det Norske Veritas

Background

(FS245011) Official controls in poultry premises are carried out by Official Veterinarians (OVs), assisted by official inspectors (known as Poultry Meat Inspectors – PMIs), and trained members of staff, known as Plant Inspection Assistants (PIAs). PIAs are subject to 100% supervision by an OV, while carrying out post-mortem inspection tasks. This research will examine the risk of amending the requirement for 100% OV presence during post-mortem inspection of poultry, when PIAs are carrying out post-mortem inspection.

Research Approach

A number of poultry slaughterhouse reviews will be undertaken. The reviews will gather information on duties performed by PIAs, their interaction with the OV and performance checks carried out by the OV on PIAs. Information on the potential risks to public health and animal health and welfare and how these are affected by PIAs and OVs will also be recorded. Outputs from this exercise will be examined using a Structured What If Technique (SWIFT), a qualitative assessment tool, which will identify the potential risks to public health and animal health and welfare. Controls for each of the risks, their significance and the impact of PIAs and OVs on those risks will be identified and analysed. A risk summary will be developed to enable the effect of alternative OV supervision strategies to be assessed.

Results

The review of slaughterhouses and analysis of inspection data carried out in the context of this project suggest that it is unlikely that there is any significant risk difference between post-mortem inspection of poultry carried out by Plant Inspection Assistants (PIAs) or Poultry Meat Inspectors (PMIs).

The risk assessment concluded that there would be no significant increase in risk with a reduced Official Veterinary presence during post-mortem inspection of poultry by PIAs, provided that the Food Business Operator (FBO) management systems were adequate. However, it was considered important that the inspectors (whether PIAs or PMIs) had access to veterinarian advice and support if needed.

FBO representatives indicated that larger plants would probably want to have a veterinarian with poultry experience on site to satisfy customer quality requirements in any event.