Food Chain Information means extra red tape for pig producers

Pig producers are being reminded that they must present new information when they take animals for slaughter.

Under new EU regulation, all pig slaughter house operators will be required to “request, receive, check and act upon” Food Chain Information (FCI) for all pigs sent for slaughter.

This requirement forms part of a whole-chain farm-to-fork approach to food safety introduced by Hygiene Regulations at the beginning of 2006.

Progressive implementation of FCI for other species started with poultry in 2006, pigs from 2008, cattle and sheep from 2010.

Although there are signs that January may be regarded as a “trial month”, producers are advised to have appropriate FCI systems in place and paperwork available with effect from 1st January 2008.

Once the FCI system has been fully implemented, pigs lacking FCI paperwork may be detained and could even be rejected if the information is not provided.

The onus will be on abattoirs to obtain the FCI details and the British Pig Executive has prepared an on-line registration service.

FCI documentation includes:

• Production site details which have to be sent on a one-off basis to the receiving abattoir, which should retain these details on file.

• Consignment details, including the date of dispatch, number of pigs, herd mark and other consignment information to accompany the pigs with the AML2 licence that is already produced.

• Notification of any casualties or pigs which have been treated with medication in the past 28 days.

Although these FCI requirements will create a significant burden of paperwork, for those producers with internet access, pre-populated FCI forms can be generated via the BPEX website and forwarded direct to abattoirs.

The National Pig Association has expressed concerns over the limited time available for producers to make the appropriate FCI applications and the lack of any official instructions from DEFRA.