6.2 Key industry drivers - Food safety
The overriding objective of the chicken meat industry is to provide high quality food to the Australian public, and food safety is paramount to this. All Australian poultry processing plants have either HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) programs or alternative, audited food safety plans in place to manage food safety risks.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) sets and administers the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) under the FSANZ Act 1991. The processing and marketing of chicken meat is governed by the Code. A new Primary Production and Processing Standard for Poultry Meat was approved by the FSANZ Board in May 2009 for implementation by May 2011. This Standard covers not only the processing but also the production (farming) of chickens for meat.
The extension of food standards to the production of chicken meat recognises that farming practices influence the safety of the final product. Whilst bacterial contamination of carcases can be controlled effectively during processing, if fewer bacteria enter the processing plant, maintaining food safety is made easier. For this reason, reduced contamination of birds leaving the farm with Salmonella or Campylobacter is seen as having potential food safety benefits.
On-farm food safety requirements mirror many of the protocols preventing animal diseases from entering the poultry farm or spreading from one shed to another, generally referred to as biosecurity measures.
The industry must also adhere to the Australian Standard for Construction of Premises and Hygienic Production of Poultry Meat for Human Consumption. This standard mostly covers requirements that will ensure food is safe, but also includes some requirements aimed at animal welfare.