Farmers warned dirty stock could hit them in the pocket

A rise in mucky and wet animals being submitted for slaughter has led to a call for livestock farms to ensure they send clean livestock to the abattoirs.

Farms sending in dirty animals this winter are making the supply chain inefficient and also leaving themselves out of pocket, the AHDB has reminded producers.

This follows an exceptionally wet late summer and autumn across western livestock areas, with south-west Scotland and north-west England receiving 170% of average rainfall.

See also: Wet and mild weather sparks fluke warning

What is the FSA’s Clean Livestock Policy?

  • First published in 1997, following the fatal E coli 0157 outbreak in Scotland in 1996
  • Five categories, ranging from “clean and dry” to “filthy and wet”
  • Only category one and category two animals are permitted for slaughter without further action being taken

“Dirty stock can seriously affect the financial return to beef and lamb producers – as well as the impact on human health,” said AHDB technical manager Steve Powdrill.

“If dirt is transferred on to the carcass, the contaminated meat is trimmed away – which reduces the carcass weight and therefore the price paid.”

Food safety standards set out by the Food Standard Agency’s (FSA) Clean Livestock Policy are taken seriously by the entire supply chain, said Michael Winchester, senior livestock manager at Woodhead Brothers.

He said the cost of clipping dirty stock is a charge that is passed back to producers.

He added: “We use the Clean Livestock Policy scoring system. Cattle are scored on a one to five scale at the time of unloading, with one being clean and five being dirty.

“Any cattle scoring three to five cannot proceed to slaughter without further action being taken.”