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Unfit meat

Regulation 178/2002 places an obligation on a FBO not to place food on the market if it is unsafe. Food shall be deemed to be unsafe if it is considered to

  • injurious to health;
  • unfit for human consumption.

In determining whether any food is unsafe, regard shall be had:

  • to the normal conditions of use of the food by the consumer and at each stage of production, processing and distribution, and.
  • to the information provided to the consumer, including information on the label, or other information generally available to the consumer concerning the avoidance of specific adverse health effects from a particular food or category of foods.

In determining whether any food is injurious to health, regard shall be had:

  • not only to the probable immediate and/or short-term and/or long-term effects of that food on the health of a person consuming it, but also on subsequent generations;
  • to the probable cumulative toxic effects;
  • to the particular health sensitivities of a specific category of consumers where the food is intended for that category of consumers .

In determining whether any food is unfit for human consumption, regard shall be had to whether the food is unacceptable for human consumption according to its intended use, for reasons of contamination, whether by extraneous matter or otherwise, or through putrefaction, deterioration or decay.

Where any food which is unsafe is part of a batch, lot or consignment of food of the same class or description, it shall be presumed that all the food in that batch, lot or consignment is also unsafe, unless following a detailed assessment there is no evidence that the rest of the batch, lot or consignment is unsafe.

Regulation (EC) 853/2004 on Specific Hygiene Rules for Food of Animal Origin requires that meat is to be declared unfit for human consumption if it:

  • derives from animals that have not undergone ante-mortem inspection, except for hunted wild game;
  • derives from animals the offal of which has not undergone post-mortem inspection, unless otherwise provided for under Regulation (EC) 854/2004 or Regulation (EC) No 853/2004;
  • derives from animals which are dead before slaughter, stillborn, unborn or slaughtered under the age of seven days;
  • results from the trimming of sticking points;
  • derives from animals affected by an OIE List A or, where appropriate, OIE List B disease, unless otherwise provided for in Section IV of Regulation (EC) 854/2004
  • derives from animals affected by a generalised disease, such as generalised septicaemia, pyaemia, toxaemia or viraemia;
  • is not in conformity with microbiological criteria laid down under Community legislation to determine whether food may be placed on the market;
  • exhibits parasitic infestation, unless otherwise provided for in Section IV of Regulation (EC) 854/2004
  • contains residues or contaminants in excess of the levels laid down in Community legislation. Any overshooting of the relevant level should lead to additional analyses whenever appropriate
  • without prejudice to more specific Community legislation, derives from animals or carcases containing residues of forbidden substances or from animals that have been treated with forbidden substances;
  • consists of the liver and kidneys of animals more than two years old from regions where implementation of plans approved in accordance with Article 5 of Directive 96/23/EC has revealed the generalised presence of heavy metals in the environment;
  • has been treated illegally with decontaminating substances;
  • has been treated illegally with ionising or UV-rays;
  • contains foreign bodies (except, in the case of wild game, material used to hunt the animal);
  • exceeds the maximum permitted radioactivity levels laid down under Community legislation;
  • indicates patho-physiological changes, anomalies in consistency, insufficient bleeding (except for wild game) or organoleptic anomalies, in particular a pronounced sexual odour;
  • derives from emaciated animals;
  • contains specified risk material, except as provided for under Community legislation;
  • shows soiling, faecal or other contamination;
  • consists of blood that may constitute a risk to public or animal health owing to the health status of any animal from which it derives or contamination arising during the slaughter process;
  • in the opinion of the official veterinarian, after examination of all the relevant information, it may constitute a risk to public or animal health or is for any other reason not suitable for human consumption.