4 April 1997

MLCs hygiene campaign away

IMPROVING hygiene standards throughout the meat industry is the aim of an initiative launched this week by the Meat and Livestock Commission.

It has written to abattoirs and butchers reminding them of critical areas where the highest standards are vital, and is urging farmers to help prevent infection reaching the abattoir by ensuring animals sent for slaughter are clean.

MLC stresses that dirty animals will be rejected and advises farmers to follow the Meat Hygiene Services revised guidelines on improving the cleanliness of finished cattle.

The MHS recommends that producers pay attention to housing and feeding regimes, and consider clipping stock before slaughter.

Cattle should be housed two to three weeks before slaughter, and yards kept well bedded and ventilated to prevent build-up of dirt. When possible, cattle should be offered dry feeds rather than silage or new grass, which causes more coat contamination.

The MHS advises against washing cattle within 24 hours of sale/transport, as this is likely to increase bacterial contamination at slaughter. And it stresses the need to provide cover during loading because wet coats cause easier spread of contamination.