Animal by-products may harbour health risks


<p>By-products of animal origin are monitored extensively, from the disposal of dead animals to the manufacture of bio-diesel. Throughout the control chain it is important to safeguard against harm to human and animal health by contamination from animal by-products.</p>

Animal by-products are created primarily in the slaughter of animals, the production of foodstuffs of animal origin, such as milk products, in the disposal of dead animals and when combating animal diseases.

By-products can always harbour a risk to the health of people and animals as well as the environment. That is why by-products are generally either disposed of in a safe manner or utilised, for example, in the production of technical commodities. In connection with this, it is important to comply with requirements which are designed to minimise potential health risks.

The control of by-products is the responsibility of Evira, the Finnish Food Safety Authority, as well as Regional State Administrative Agencies and municipal control authorities.

Only minor deficiencies detected in the operation of by-product plants

At the end of 2012 there were approximately 400 plants which stored, processed and disposed of by-products under the provisions of the By-Product Decree. The plants are monitored under an annual programme, which is based on the degree of risk estimated to arise from the plant’s operation. Monitoring of plants under the responsibility of Evira was successfully completed according to plan. However, only 40 per cent of the control falling under the responsibility of Regional State Administrative Agencies and municipalities was actually carried out.

Of the total failings detected in the control visits four were classed as serious, which is a slight increase on the previous year’s figure. The failings were linked to microbiological analyses. Other deficiencies brought to light by the control missions tended to be minor, and they did not cause any danger to human or animal health. Typically, the failings were shortcomings in commercial documentation and the accounts.

Fewer illegally buried bovine animals

Ruminant animals, pigs and poultry, which have been culled or died naturally on farms, may not be disposed of by burying in “collection areas”, which have a high concentration of animals. In collection areas carcasses are collected and taken to a processing plant operating under the provisions of the By-Product Decree. Year-on-year the number of illegally buried bovines in collection areas has decreased. The register of bovine animals indicates that in 2012 only 4.6 per cent (1 636 animals) of the bovines which were culled or died of natural causes in collection areas were disposed of by burying.

Over 200 registered carcass feeding sites

The year 2012 saw a significant growth in the numbers of carcass feeding sites and people managing carcasses. According to the register of carcass sites, there were 179 carcass operators in Finland, maintaining a total of 210 carcass feeding sites. The regions covered by the Northern Finland (70 sites) and Eastern Finland (50 sites) Regional State Administrative Agencies had the largest number of carcass sites.

Most of the carcass feeding sites have been established for the purpose of viewing and photographing bears.

For further information please contact:
Taina Heimonen-Kauppi, Senior Inspector, tel. +358 40 489 3351

Related Categories: