EU reports deficiencies in Thai's control system for poultry
A five-year period audit was made this year by the EU authorities on Thai's control system form poultry and the results found was mixed. Auditors from the Directorate-General Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) visited one laboratory, five slaughterhouses and cutting plants and three meat preparation sites, at the beginning of the year.
These eight sites included six major exporters to EU, two of whom have been involved in RASFF border rejections for Salmonella, one establishment in which serious deficiencies were found during the 2013 audit and one plant recently listed for export to the EU but not doing so yet, informs Food Safety News magazine.
The previous audit five years ago highlighted deficiencies in relation to approval procedures (not concluding the establishment complies with relevant EU requirements), maintenance and sanitary conditions, sampling plans of the competent authority and food businesses checks, use of correct analytical methods for Listeria monocytogenes and certification procedures.
The audit this year found the control system is adequately designed and has the potential to deliver guarantees of compliance with relevant EU requirements but it has substantial failures in implementation.
“Following serious deficiencies identified by the audit team in four out of eight establishments visited … the central competent authority announced that all remaining establishments currently listed for export of poultry meat and products derived therefrom, will be urgently reviewed by “external” auditors – auditors other than the DLD auditors usually involved in auditing of export establishments -, in order to verify their compliance,” the audit team said in the report.
In the establishment which had serious deficiencies during the 2013 audit, and the corrective action plan presented appeared satisfactory on paper, remaining serious deficiencies were found.
“In general, the system has the potential of ensuring that food establishments meet the relevant EU standards. The control system in place includes enforcement measures that can be effective and dissuasive if properly applied. However, they are not always applied as deficiencies are not detected/recorded by the competent authority. Therefore, the competent authority cannot ensure that non-compliant products are or have not been exported to the EU,” said the audit team.
Last year, 5,113 tons of poultry meat was exported to the European Union, 185,844 tons of poultry meat products and 58,256 tons of poultry meat preparations, according to Thai authorities.
There were 24 RASFF notifications related to Salmonella in fresh meat and meat preparations in 2017 and 26 in 2016. The auditors visited two plants which contributed to the figures (six and seven notifications respectively) and were significant EU exporters but the origin of Salmonella infection cannot be precisely established.
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