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Ante-mortem inspection of prime red meat and poultry by Official Auxiliaries rather than Official Veterinarians
Project Code: MC1005
EU legislation requires that an Official Veterinarian (OV) carries out ante-mortem inspection of all red meat animals before slaughter. In September 2008, a report was presented on optimising FSA Operations Group resources in meat slaughterhouses. From this, research was proposed to assess any potential changes in risk to public health, animal health and welfare resulting from ante-mortem inspections being carried out by Official Auxiliaries (OAs) rather than by OVs for young and prime red meat animals and for poultry.
During the study, all potential stakeholders were included in meetings to discuss key issues raised because of possible changes in ante-mortem inspection. Outputs from other current projects carried out for the FSA produced an initial assessment of the conditions that an OV would detect and a risk summary was created, listing potential risks when using OAs for ante-mortem inspections.
A number of conditions were evaluated as having a significant risk to animal welfare (prime red meat) but ante-mortem inspection was considered to be effective in identifying all of these conditions, and would remain effective if the inspection were carried out by an OA. However, if ante-mortem checks were to be undertaken by non-veterinarians, veterinarian support should be made available.
There is a limit to what can be achieved with poultry ante-mortem inspection but key functions could be carried out by an appropriately qualified non-veterinarian.
Ante-mortem inspections performed by an OA would be unlikely to result in any increase in risks to public health, animal health or animal welfare.
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