Dutch statistics highlight the problem of slaughterhouses.food safety compromised

The Dutch Food Authority has identified 5,700 possible violations at red meat and poultry slaughterhouses in the first half of 2022.

The Dutch Food and Consumer Products Safety Authority (NVWA) said this resulted in 401 written warnings or fines. From January 2022 to June he said most of the issues found in more than 23,600 tests were related to hygiene or animal welfare.

Violations included 70 written warnings and 62 fines for red meat abattoirs and 147 warnings and 122 fines for poultry farms. However, not all of these potential shortcomings have been established and some are subject to appeal.

Warnings and fines for red meat slaughterhouses decreased compared to the same period in 2021 and July-December 2021 despite increased controls. Poultry farms also decreased compared to his previous two periods.

sanitary deficiencies
Food safety topics cover four areas: hygienic practices, animal by-products, microbiological standards, and traceability. A total of 119 violations, including 70 written warnings, were identified at red meat sites. There are 49 violations that amount to fines, 24 of which remain unresolved due to operator complaints or appeals. The number of non-compliances has stabilized in recent years, and most of them are related to hygienic practices.

At poultry slaughterhouses, 224 violations were identified and 146 resulted in warnings. There are 78 violations for which fines have been imposed, 33 of which are still pending due to appeals by the operating companies. Most of the violations are related to sanitary work.

Supervising veterinarians and inspectors will intervene in the event of deficiencies and make adjustments as necessary. This is to prevent animal welfare and food safety from being compromised. For example, the slaughter line may be temporarily stopped. This allows slaughterhouses to correct existing violations or prevent violations.

NVWA Inspector General Gerald Bakker said, “The figures show that slaughterhouses currently do not have sufficient responsibility to ensure animal welfare and food safety.” Too many things go wrong and we need to improve. The changes and attitudes required of the industry must come from the industry itself. When the business community falls short, we step in. ”

39 large abattoirs in the Netherlands are under permanent NVWA supervision.

Requires slower slaughter rate
Earlier this month, the NVWA withdrew permits for rapid slaughter from poultry facilities in Limburg. The site, which has not been named, has also come under increased oversight because corrective actions and reporting of findings have not led to sufficient improvements in its processes.

In recent months, the agency has found various health and animal welfare violations at the company, including animals pushing each other while unloading shipping containers.

Vegetative slaughter plants require special permits and must meet animal welfare and hygiene requirements.

The slaughterhouse was licensed to slaughter 7,500 broilers per hour. Due to the suspension, it is now able to operate at 6,000 vehicles per hour, which is the maximum speed for general public. The maximum permissible slaughter rate for broilers in the Netherlands is he 13,500 per hour.

The site improvement period is 5 months. In order to be able to slaughter at a higher rate, the requirement of 3 consecutive months must be met. If this does not happen, the permit to increase slaughter rates may be definitively revoked. The company’s approval could also be suspended.

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