The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) plans to run a trial on several sheep processing chains. The trial will likely start in November and will run for about six months in three meat processing facilities.
The trials are part of government’s continuing push to get the export industry into line with global best practice outlined in the internationally-accepted Codex Code of Hygiene Practice for Meat, and outcomes that are consistent with New Zealand’s domestic processing requirements, Carol Barnao, Acting Deputy Director-General (Food Safety), says.
A number of trading partner countries share this approach and, on several aspects of meat hygiene, trials are progressing in Australia, the USA, UK and EU.
Carol Barnao says that the general thrust of the trial is to create a situation where industry takes more responsibility for suitability issues. NZFSA’s current quality and food safety performance criteria will be applied continuously during the trials.
Extra controls by onsite NZFSA staff will be put in place during the trial to ensure continued safety and suitability of product.
Carol Barnao says that meat will continue to undergo food safety inspection by government officials during the trial, and into the foreseeable future no matter the outcome of the trial.
Trial results will be fully evaluated before any proposals to change current requirements for sheep and lamb inspections are made. There is more on the trials on the NZFSA website at: http://www.nzfsa.govt.nz/animalproducts/subject/ovine/index.htm