New Videos Highlight Dangers of Dirty Livestock at Slaughter

UK - Producers are being reminded about the importance of ensuring livestock are clean when they are presented for slaughter in two videos produced by levy board AHDB Beef & Lamb.
calendar icon 18 January 2016
clock icon 2 minute read

The videos demonstrate the danger of dirt and faeces being transferred from the hide or wool of an animal onto the meat during processing and how this risk can increase with dirtier stock. One video illustrates this for cattle, the other for sheep.

Special dispensation was obtained from a vet to allow animals which would be deemed unacceptably dirty to be processed for the purpose of the videos. Usually the animals featured would have undergone some intervention at the abattoir, such as additional cleaning or clipping, which is normally carried out at a cost to the farmer.

Food safety is the primary reason for these measures, as pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella carried in the guts of infected animals can cause food-borne illnesses in humans if the faeces is transferred onto sterile carcase meat. But dirty stock can also impact the financial return to the producer, as contaminated meat is trimmed away, reducing the weight of the carcase and therefore the price paid.

Liz Ford, North West Regional Manager for AHDB Beef & Lamb, said: “Livestock producers are ultimately meat producers and we need to work together as an industry to ensure the food we produce is safe to eat.

"Presenting clean, dry and appropriately clipped livestock is an important part of the process and these videos demonstrate the potential danger of not doing so. As well as food-safety it can have a financial impact for producers.”

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