Australia tightens poultry safety standards

AUSTRALIA - Australian poultry processors will need to meet new safety standards under proposals designed to decrease levels of harmful bacteria like salmonella and campylobacter.

Under the proposals, open for consultation, poultry processors will only be able to accept poultry from farms that comply with the regulations and they must control food safety hazards during the slaughtering process.

This reflects current industry practices where poultry processors normally own the poultry on the farm and check the farms to ensure good agricultural practices are being followed.

However the new proposals will seek greater control, using for example a HACCP based food safety management system and requiring sufficient records to enable poultry and poultry meat products to be traced.

An assessment of safety standards at all levels of the poultry sector, commissioned prior to the proposals, found that the main hazards were Salmonella and Campylobacter.

It also found that greater enforcement was needed at the primary production (breeding farms to the transport of birds to slaughter facilities) and consumer stages of the poultry meat supply chain.

In contrast, the primary production stage prior to breeding farms and the processing and retail stages are not considered to contribute to the residual risk, given current systems in place.

FSANZ said that the benefits through improved food safety outcomes would outweigh the costs of enforcing these measures. The impact of these new requirements is expected to be minimal, particularly if a two-year implementation period is provided.

calendar icon 8 December 2005
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