By FWi staff

THE Government has confirmed that traditional farm-fresh turkeys produced on-farm by small producers are not under threat.

MAFF has issued for consultation proposals to amend the British regulations governing the hygiene of poultry meat, farmed game bird meat and rabbit meat production in licensed premises.

The proposed changes will bring the British regulations more fully into line with EU directives on poultry meat hygiene and farmed game, claims MAFF.

The main proposal is the removal of the current exemption for off-farm slaughterhouses killing less than 10,000 birds or rabbits a year from the requirements of the British regulations.

Such premises would be brought under licensing controls which would provide a public health gain by driving up hygiene standards in those small off farm premises.

Other proposals are expected to allow, for the domestic market only, the practice of “hot-skinning” of quail which involves the simultaneous removal of skin and feathers.

This is in recognition of the difficulties of skinning the carcass of quail after plucking.

There are also plans to make minor changes to ensure greater compliance with the EU poultry meat hygiene directive including refrigeration and transportation of fresh meat.

But the Ministry is quick to point out that the proposals will not affect the exemption from the British regulations for on-farm production by small-scale farmers.