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For some foods, Commission Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 states how often they should be sampled and sets rules for how those samples should be taken. These foods are as follows and the sampling frequency and rules are detailed for each:

  1. Carcases of cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, horses 
  2. Poultry carcases and fresh poultry meat 
  3. Minced meat 
  4. Meat preparations 
  5. Mechanically separated meat 
  6. Sprouts 

Derogations from Set Sampling Frequencies

In some circumstances, small slaughter houses and establishments producing minced meat, meat preparations and fresh poultry meat in small quantities can be exempt from the sampling frequencies set in the Regulation. These derogations are only allowed when:

  • justified on the basis of a risk analysis, and
  • authorised by the competent authority

The following guidelines are available on reduced sampling frequencies:

  1. Guidance on minimum sampling frequencies for butcher shops producing minced meat, meat preparations and fresh poultry meat in small quantities. This document applies to butcher shops supervised by environmental health officers
  2. Guidance Note 35: Guidance on Establishing Appropriate Microbiological Sampling Frequencies in Low Throughput Slaughterhouses and Meat Processing Plants 
    This document provides guidance on establishing appropriate microbiological sampling frequencies where exemptions or derogations are allowed. This document applies to low throughput slaughterhouses and meat processing plants.

Food business operators producing sprouts may also be exempt from preliminary testing of all batches of seeds received provided that:

  1. The competent authority is satisfied that the food business operator implements a food safety management system in that establishment, which may include steps in the production process, which reduces the microbiological risk, and
  2. Historical data confirms that during at least six consecutive months prior to granting the authorisation, all batches of the different types of sprouts produced in the establishment comply with the food safety criteria set out for :
    a. Salmonella (food category 1.18), and
    b. Shiga toxin producing E. coli (STEC ) (food category 1.29)