Minor shortcomings in Norwegian controls of poultry meat products have been identified according to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Surveillance Authority.
The authority said meat products are generally complying with EEA legislation related to food safety control systems governing the production and placing on the market of poultry meat and products.
Shortcomings were identified in approval of establishments, microbiological controls and some specific hygiene requirements at the food business operators' level.
Six poultry establishments were visited by the mission team from 24 March to 2 April.
Overall effective control
Production of poultry meat is overall effectively controlled through official inspections at primary producers as well as at poultry meat establishments.
These controls are supported by a central database for quality management that includes instructions and draft reports for staff carrying out the controls.
Some deficiencies were detected mainly related to a lack of knife sterilisers in cutting plants and incomplete HACCP-based procedures.
A few deficiencies were noted in some establishments relating to minor condensation problems and a common finding was that animal by-products were stored in containers that were not clearly marked for this purpose.
Sampling for microbiological testing was carried out in establishments visited, but did not cover all relevant products or was not applied with the correct sampling frequencies and there was a lack of systematic verification of food business operators’ compliance by the authorities.
It was the first mission from the Authority to Norway focusing on poultry meat and products within the framework of the Food Hygiene Package. The relevant legislation was incorporated into the EEA agreement and entered into force on 1 May 2010.
The conclusion is that the Norwegian Food Safety Authority has a satisfactory system in place for the official controls of poultry meat production.
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has taken note of the shortcomings identified, and addressed some of them in their reply to the draft report.
“The mission team noticed some incidents of non-compliance with the hygiene requirements (e.g. insufficient sterilisation of knifes, congestion of exposed meat in plastic boxes without lids).
“The officials from the district office participating in the mission at the actual establishment immediately took action, necessary decisions were made and follow-up inspection carried out.”