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MEAT & SEAFOOD

FSSAI mandates inspecting animals at slaughter houses for certificates
Tuesday, 22 November, 2016, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Pushkar Oak, Mumbai
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A proforma, which stated that all animals at slaughter houses would undergo inspection for ante- and post-mortem fitness certificates hereafter, was released by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) upon the request of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). The fitness certificate has to be issued by a veterinary doctor upon examining the animal before and after slaughter as per Rule 4(3) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughter House) Rules, 2001.

Dr Manilal Valliyate, director, veterinary affairs, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, stated, “The new order, issued upon the request of AWBI, states the proforma to inspect the animal. The proforma elucidates some significant requirements that need to be examined for the purpose of isolation of diseased, suspected diseased or suspected abnormal animals and to prevent the contamination of the dressing areas, premises and equipment by animals in an excessively dirty condition.”

“Even the provisions for the ante- and post-mortem inspection have been specified in Schedule IV Part IV of the FSS (Licencing and Registration of Food Business) Regulations, 2011 under Specific Hygienic and Sanitary Practices to be followed by food business operators (FBOs) engaged in the manufacture, processing, storing and selling of meat and meat products,” he added.

The certification in this regard has been made mandatory in the provisions of the Transport of Animals Rules, 1978 which pertain to transporting an animal and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughter House) Rules, 2001 to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals.

The new update by FSSAI asks slaughter houses to produce a fitness certificate from a veterinary doctor. The proforma of the necessary certification will also be shared with the State Slaughter House Monitoring Committee to ensure compliance.

Shakeel Ahmed, managing director, Al Falah Frozen Foods, Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, said, “Under slaughter house rules, it was already a compulsion to obtain a fitness certificate, but the new rules under FSSAI that mandate conducting inspections in a given format or proforma will be difficult for players like us, as we are exporters, and we usually keep in touch with the regulatory authorities for upgrades and amendments on the laws of exports in this regard. But there are local players, who are our clients, who are directly involved in the activity of slaughtering animals. FSSAI’s new development has to be communicated to them.”

Local slaughter houses have to comply

The local players could be under the scrutiny of FSSAI as several small-scale slaughter houses are operational without procuring the necessary licenses.

“FSSAI's awareness schemes have undertaken the  awareness campaigns for such unorganised players in the category to obtain appropriate licenses and operate according to the procedure laid down under the FSSAI and other Acts,” said J P Singh, chief food safety officer, Food Safety and Drug Administration (FSDA), Meerut, Uttar Pradesh.

“These slaughter houses have a very small frame of operation as they serve a very small area. We, as exporters, follow the new developments in the Act, and all the slaughter houses under also follow the same, but not all slaughter houses export their meat. Some operators only sell meat in their own vicinity. They may be unaware of the new development. They should be called to the FDA office and there should be a seminar to educate these local players. That will help enforce the law and ensure the safety of the meat from contamination,” said Ahmed.

Dipti Bhalerao, veterinary surgeon, Veterinary Medical and Surgical Centre, Mumbai, said, “We have been  requested by our associations to coordinate with the slaughter houses, so that whatever necessary means has to be adopted by these slaughter houses should be taken into account according to the proforma while providing such a certification.”

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines have also laid down lariage practices (animal handling facilities) by the abattoirs. These also emphasise the veterinary inspections.

Highlights
The purpose of ante-mortem inspection
Adequately rested so as to provide meat fit for human consumption.

Help in isolation of diseased, suspected diseased or suspected abnormal animals.

Prevent contamination of the dressing areas, premises, equipment by animals in an excessively dirty condition.

Ensure safety of animal handlers from animals with communicable diseases.

Obtain information required for post-mortem inspection.

The purpose of post-mortem inspection
Ensure detection of abnormalities so only that food is provided which is fit for human consumption.

Carry out routine checks on the manner and the methods of handling animals, stunning, shackling and bleeding.

One certificate can be issued for a maximum of 12 animals per hour. The proforma will also carry the name and address of the owner or in-charge of the animal.

The veterinary doctor will also certify that the slaughter house:

has adequate arrangement for pre-slaughter housing, feeding and humane handling of the animals;

has adequate arrangement for hygiene, cleanliness and safety of public health;

is free of rodents, flies, dogs, cats or any other source of contamination/vectors of any disease;

has proper arrangement for drainage and disposal of waste as per norms of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) guidelines;

has been registered/licensed by the appropriate authority under the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011, and

All butchers and support staff have undergone health check on date ___ and were found to be healthy and fit to be permitted to work in the slaughter house.
 
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