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Requirements for slaughterhouses

Food business operators must ensure that the construction, layout and equipment of slaughterhouses in which poultry are slaughtered meet the following requirements.

  • They must have a room or covered space for the reception of the animals and for their inspection before slaughter.
  • To avoid contaminating meat, they must:
  1. have a sufficient number of rooms, appropriate to the operations being carried out;
  2. have a separate room for evisceration and further dressing, including the addition of seasonings to whole poultry carcases, unless the competent authority authorises separation in time of these operations within a specific slaughterhouse on a case-by-case basis;
  3. ensure separation in space or time of the following operations:
    1. stunning and bleeding
    2. plucking or skinning and
    3. any scalding and dispatching meat
  • have installations that prevent contact between the meat and the floors, walls and fixtures;


  • have slaughter lines (where operated) that are designed to allow a 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 premises, 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:

  • transport equipment such as crates; and
  • means of transport.

These places and facilities are not compulsory for (b) if officially authorised places and facilities exist nearby.

They must have an adequately equipped lockable facility or, where needed, room for the exclusive use of the veterinary service .