How do you choose poultry from healthy farms?

How do you choose poultry from healthy farms?

One of the key issues of food law in the European Union is the concept of ‘from farm to fork’. As a guiding principle, it was introduced in the EU as early as 2002 (Regulation 178/2002).

In practice, this principle means that all participants involved in food production are equally involved and at the same time equally responsible for food safety. The farm-to-table concept encompasses a series of standards that make it possible to produce safe poultry meat at every stage of the food chain. Activities start on the poultry farm, where special attention is paid not only to the origin of the chicks and the rearing of healthy birds, but also to feed production and farm safety. In addition, each farm is under veterinary care and its owners are obliged to comply with so-called welfare rules and to use only authorised inputs.
  What is more, owners are also obliged to keep appropriate records, which are crucial for linking the elements of the food chain.

Another strategic element is all stages of slaughtering and meat processing. On delivery, each batch of poultry must have a health certificate confirming the health of the birds. Further handling at the production plant, on the other hand, must take place according to special procedures and conditions described in EU and Polish law, as well as in special instructions. These requirements are reflected in the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) system implemented in each establishment. This system allows the stages of production that are most important for the health safety of meat to be monitored and obliges immediate corrective action to be taken in the event of any deviations. Independently of the HACCP system, poultry meat production is supervised on an ongoing basis by the Veterinary Inspection Service, which is independent of the plant.

The application of the farm-to-table concept means that food safety is not only a matter of control at the slaughterhouse or food processing level, as traditionally understood. On the contrary, this system treats all links in the food chain as equally important and emphasises the need for cooperation between all responsible and involved actors.

The production of safe poultry meat according to the farm-to-table approach requires full traceability, i.e. the ability to track the movement and origin of birds, food and feed. Appropriate systems have therefore been set up at each stage – feed production, farms, animal selection or additives used – to trace the entire product journey from the start of production to the consumer.

Traceability is realised in two directions: a step forward and a step back. “Traceability” (tracking) can be defined as the ability to follow the path a product takes from the beginning to the stage of interest. The term ‘tracking’ is used to identify at any point in the supply chain the manufacturer, supplier, and raw material information to determine the cause and source of the hazard. ‘Tracing’, on the other hand, is the ability to identify the onward journey of poultry meat by reconstructing the shipping history.

Thanks to the ‘farm to table’ principle, which has been implemented efficiently for many years, Polish and European consumers can be sure that poultry meat and its products are completely safe.