Dirty animals at slaughter could harm your returns

THE cleanliness of stock being presented for slaughter always becomes an increasing issue for both producers and processors at this time of year.

As a consequence, Eblex is urging producers to ensure stock meet the guidelines for cleanliness to avoid additional costs at slaughter.

“The Food Standards Agency has clear guidelines for livestock producers detailing the cleanliness requirements of both cattle and sheep at slaughter,” says Phil Handley, Eblex senior manager for the southern region.


“Dirty animals increase the risk of carcase contamination by food poisoning organisms, such as E.coli and clostridium, during the dressing process and presents a real risk for public health and consumer perception of meat and meat products.”

The Clean Livestock Policy has five levels of cleanliness for cattle and sheep, with ‘1’ being clean and dry, and ‘5’ being very dirty and wet.

Only animals in the top two categories can be slaughtered without restrictions, with animals falling into the lower categories needing additional controls, for example clipping or reducing kill line speed.

These additional restrictions increase costs for the processor and may be passed back to the producer.

The incidence of dirty animals is relatively low, reflecting the effort farmers put in to ensure animals are clean.

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