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The FSAI reminds producers, importers and retailers that the sale of defrosted poultrymeat is not permitted

Thursday, 24 November 2022

In the EU, defrosted previously-frozen poultrymeat, including turkey, is not allowed for sale. In particular, Council Regulation EC No 1308/2013 on the organisation of markets in agriculture products, and Commission Regulation EC No 543/2008 on the marketing standards for poultrymeat, require poultrymeat marketed in the EU to be in one of three states: fresh (not previously-frozen), frozen, or quick-frozen.

In the context of current avian influenza risks, the United Kingdom (UK) has introduced a temporary easement to its poultrymeat marketing rules. For the 2022 Christmas period, the UK is allowing the production and sale of certain of defrosted previously-frozen poultrymeat, with such products clearly labelled as ‘defrosted’. Currently both England and Wales have indicated acceptability of such production and marketing. This easement will not be available for affected products sold in NI, due to the NI Protocol.

Food businesses in Ireland should be aware that EU food regulations have not changed, despite this temporary UK allowance. Therefore, the production and/or marketing of poultrymeat in a defrosted state remains prohibited in all EU Member States and Northern Ireland. In Ireland, placing defrosted poultrymeat on the market is contrary to the European Communities (Marketing Standards for Poultrymeat) Regulations, 2010 (SI 328 of 2010).

Examples of operations which are not allowed include:

  • importation of defrosted poultrymeat into Ireland
  • placing defrosted poultrymeat on the market in Ireland
  • producing defrosted poultrymeat in Ireland

Importers, retailers, distributors and producers are asked to exercise extra vigilance to poultrymeat marketing standards in their poultrymeat operations for the 2022 Christmas period.