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Requirements for slaughterhouses

Food business operators must ensure that the construction, layout and equipment of slaughterhouses in which domestic ungulates (i.e. domestic bovine (including Bubalus and Bison species), porcine, ovine and caprine animals, and domestic solipeds) are slaughtered have:

  • adequate and hygienic lairage facilities or, climate permitting, waiting pens that are easy to clean and disinfect. These facilities must be equipped for watering the animals and, if necessary, feeding them. The drainage of the wastewater must not compromise food safety
  • have separate lockable facilities or, climate permitting, pens for sick or suspect animals with separate draining and sited in such a way as to avoid contamination of other animals, unless the competent authority considers that such facilities are unnecessary.
  • the size of the lairage facilities must ensure that the welfare of the animals is respected. Their layout must facilitate ante-mortem inspections, including the identification of the animals or groups of animals.

To avoid the contamination of meat, FBOs must:

  • have a sufficient number of rooms, appropriate to the operations being carried out;
  • have a separate room for the emptying and cleaning of stomachs and intestines, unless the competent authority authorises the separation in time of these operations within a specific slaughterhouse on a case-by-case basis;
  • ensure separation in space or time of the following operations:
  1. stunning and bleeding
  2. in the case of porcine animals, scalding, depilation, scraping and singeing
  3. evisceration and further dressing
  4. handling clean guts and tripe
  5. preparation and cleaning of other offal, particularly the handling of skinned heads if it does not take place at the slaughter line
  6. packaging offal and
  7. dispatching meat
  8. have installations that prevent contact between the meat and the floors, walls and fixtures and
  9. have slaughter lines (where operated) that are designed to allow constant progress of the slaughter process and to avoid cross-contamination between the different parts of the slaughter line. Where more than one slaughter line is operated in the same establishment, there must be adequate separation of the lines to prevent cross-contamination
  • They must have facilities for disinfecting tools with hot water supplied at not less than 82 °C, or an alternative system having an equivalent effect.
  • The equipment for washing hands used by the staff engaged in handling exposed meat must have taps designed to prevent the spread of contamination
  • There must be lockable facilities for the refrigerated storage of detained meat and separate lockable facilities for the storage of meat declared unfit for human consumption
  • There must be a separate place with appropriate facilities for the cleaning, washing and disinfection of means of transport for livestock. However, slaughterhouses need not have these places and facilities if the competent authority so permits and official authorised places and facilities exist nearby.
  • They must have lockable facilities reserved for the slaughter of sick and suspect animals. This is not essential if this slaughter takes place in other establishments authorised by the competent authority for this purpose, or at the end of the normal slaughter period.
  • If manure or digestive tract content is stored in the slaughterhouse, there must be a special area or place for that purpose
  • They must have an adequately equipped lockable facility or, where needed, room for the exclusive use of the veterinary service