chicken processing line© Peter Lehoczky/Rex Shutterstock

Poultrymeat is being included for the first time in a review of meat processing standards being conducted by Red Tractor Assurance (RTA).

An industry-wide consultation has just been issued, suggesting improvements to a number of key areas, including food safety, traceability and animal welfare.

In the past, these Red Tractor processing standards have just related to beef, lamb and pigs.

See also: Rule review for Red Tractor poultry scheme

The decision to now include poultry follows a review, which was carried out in conjunction with a number of technical specialists, including representatives from Moy Park and 2 Sisters Food Group.

The poultry welfare module covers things like handling, the presence of welfare officers, lairage standards, stunning and killing.

Anita Roberts, RTA head of assurance, said standards were reviewed every three years to ensure they kept up to date with new legislation and emerging industry issues.

“We decided to extend these standards to cover chicken slaughter, as well as beef, lamb and pork, to ensure the same detailed and prescriptive standards are applied across all Red Tractor meat products.

“The revised standards also include details on the controls processors need to have in place to ensure that the Red Tractor logo only gets used on eligible products.”

Responses need to be submitted by 11 January 2016, with the new rules due to be implemented next summer. The consultation can be found here.