Farmers Must Provide More Food Chain Info

UK - National Farmers' Union (NFU) Scotland is reminding beef and sheep farmers that the latest piece of European legislation to affect their business – the requirement to provide additional information when supplying prime stock into the food chain – comes into force on 1 January, 2010.
calendar icon 22 December 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

Food chain information (FCI) legislation requires abattoirs to ‘request, receive, check and act upon’ information supplied for all cattle and sheep slaughtered in the UK. This largely relates to the use of any veterinary medicines and acknowledgement that withdrawal periods for the medicines have been observed. At the request of NFU Scotland, the Foods Standards Agency in Scotland will be writing to all Scottish livestock keepers in the next few days outlining what additional information will be required.

NFU Scotland has worked closely with stakeholders and the FSA to identify the minimum requirements and to come up with as simple a format as possible for the information. This has resulted in the production of a model declaration, agreed with the FSA, which the Union will make available to its members.

NFU Scotland Vice-President, Nigel Miller said: “From the start of next year, a declaration must accompany all cattle and sheep going direct to slaughter in an abattoir, or to a prime market for sale. We have worked hard with the FSA to produce a template that is acceptable and we will make this available to farmers, auctioneers and abattoir owners.

“There has always been an obligation on producers to ensure that animals going into the food chain are safe to eat and that the withdrawal periods for any medications have been adhered to. However, the need to sign a declaration that withdrawal periods have been observed whilst animals have been under your own ownership and any previous ownership highlights the need for greater information to also accompany any store animals going to market. With this in mind, industry stakeholders will be looking into the feasibility of providing similar declarations to accompany all store animals, informing purchasers of any outstanding withdrawal periods.

“Farmers are likely to view the FCI requirement as an additional bureaucratic burden and we are pleased that the FSA in Scotland has promised to supply extensive guidance to Scottish livestock keepers. This will clarify the information required by these declarations. We have fed into the development of this guidance and I would recommend that producers take some time to look through this information when it arrives on their doorstep this week.

“With the legislation due to come into force in a few short days, we have asked the FSA to ensure that its officers adopt a pragmatic approach to enforcement in the first few weeks and months. This would allow them to use advice and education whilst producers adapt to the new requirements.”

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