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Iceland falls short in poultry meat controls

By Joe Whitworth+

05-Mar-2014

Iceland must bring poultry controls in line with EEA legislation - EFTA
Iceland must bring poultry controls in line with EEA legislation - EFTA

Iceland needs to improve the official controls of poultry meat production, according to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) surveillance authority.

At the food business operators level, shortcomings were identified in general and specific hygiene requirements.

The Food and Veterinary Authority of Iceland (MAST) controls the production of poultry meat from farm level to the final product excluding the retail level.

National reference laboratories (NRLs) had been appointed for Salmonella and Campylobacter, but at the time of the mission no NRLs were in place for E.coli and Listeria monocytogenes.

In response, MAST said funding for the designation of a NRL is foreseen in 2015.

Establishments had been approved without being fully in compliance with requirements in the European Economic Area (EEA) legislation.

Areas of caution

Deficiencies were detected in insufficient maintenance, unclear separation of clean and unclean areas, inadequate procedures for cleaning and disinfection, lack of sterilisers in cutting plants and incomplete HACCP-procedures.

“Serious shortcomings were detected in post-mortem and ante-mortem controls that were carried out by insufficiently trained slaughter house staff and without the presence and supervision from an official veterinarian,” said the report.

MAST said it will ensure that an official vet is present in the poultry slaughterhouses during slaughter, or can be reached and respond within a few minutes.

The agency said it would set up a training plan for the trained employees of the slaughterhouse that perform post mortem inspection.

Sampling for microbiological testing had started in two of three establishments but did not cover all relevant products or were not applied with the correct sampling frequencies.

No official samples had been taken to verify the food business operators compliance as regards microbiological testing.

Meat controls

The report describes the outcome of a visit by the EFTA Surveillance Authority in Iceland from 4 to 8 November 2013 regarding controls on poultry meat and products.

The objective was to verify that official controls related to poultry meat and products thereof were carried out in compliance with the EEA legislation.

This was the first mission from the authority to Iceland focusing on poultry meat but they carried out one focusing on food of animal origin (red meat, milk and products) in May 2012.

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