Red Meat Slaughterhouses And Cutting Plants

Red Meat Slaughterhouses And Cutting Plants

The Malta Public Abattoir (MT001), located in Marsa, is an establishment where domestic ungulates, that is, red meat animals of swine, bovine, ovine, caprine and equine species are slaughtered.

The Officials of the Section carry out, on a daily basis, the ante-mortem and the post-mortem inspections of the animals transported to the slaughterhouse.

At the Gozo Civil Abattoir (MT002), located in Xewkija, animals of swine, bovine and ovine species are slaughtered. The operations are scheduled for Wednesday, on a weekly basis.

Particular consideration is given to Animal Welfare, with the aim of evaluating transport conditions, in accordance with the Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005, the lairaging conditions, and to verify compliance with the Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009, from the unloading of the animals to the stunning procedures prior to slaughter.

The identification of the animals is verified and the health status is also evaluated in order to identify any sign of diseases or other conditions, and to assess the fitness of the animals to be sent for slaughter, as provided by Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 and Regulation (EC) No 854/2004.

The verification of the hygiene of the procedures, and the post-mortem inspection of the slaughtered animals, are carried out by the Veterinary Officers in order to assess that the carcass hygiene is ensured and that the meat is not affected by any condition representing a risk for the public health. When the meat is deemed as fit for human consumption, the health mark is applied.

The Veterinary Officers in charge of the inspection at the red meat slaughterhouses also perform checks for the verification of the responsibilities of the food business operator, as regards the labelling, the reliability of traceability, and the handling of the animal by-products.

The slaughtered animal carcasses are routinely, or on suspicion, sampled and subjected to different laboratory tests in the interest of food safety, as well as animal health:

  • Research of chemical residues and contaminants according to the National Residue Control;
  • Detection of Trichinella larvae in swine and horse carcasses, as per Commission Regulation (EC) No 2075/2005;
  • BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis), according to Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 and to Commission Decision 2009/719/EC, as amended;
  • Survey of TSEs (Transmissible Spongiform Encephalitis) on an established number of ovine and caprine carcasses, as per Regulation (EC) No 999/2001;
  • Research of antimicrobial residues, in case of suspicious;
  • Control programme for Brucellosis.

The Emergency Service, developed in 2012,  still operates on a 24/7 basis  in Malta and Gozo in order to improve the general welfare of farm animals, to improve the passive surveillance on animal diseases, and limit the possible spread of dangerous pathogens. Animals unfit for transport are visited (ante-mortem inspection) and slaughtered on-farm and then transported to the Marsa Abattoir for further slaughter operations and post-mortem inspection.