Q. Can I buy free-range chickens and ducks from a local producer?
Yes. There is no specific law restricting the source of poultry that can be used by caterers. However, your general legal obligations under the food law, including HACCP, means that you must control the risks associated with poultry. Poultry, including free-range poultry, may be obtained from poultry slaughter establishments that are approved.
In Ireland, such establishments are approved by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine or the local authority. Poultry farmers may also slaughter small quantities of their own poultry (less than 10,000 birds per year) and supply them to local retail or catering businesses (within 100 km), without being approved – these poultry farmers must be registered with the local authority.
If poultry is slaughtered in an establishment that is not approved by or registered with the competent authority, then it is not considered safe. Your EHO may require you to produce evidence that your supplier is approved by or registered with the competent authority for slaughter of poultry. This means that your supplier should provide you with a copy of their approval number or registration form. Approval numbers can be checked on in the Approved Food Premises section.