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Next stage of CCIR abattoir data project to start in September

22nd Aug 2016 / By Alistair Driver

Trials of the next stage of an initiative aimed at improving the flow of pig health information collected at abattoirs back to farms will commence at the end of September.

Trials of the Collection and Communication of Inspection Results (CCIR) post-mortem condition cards and training of meat inspectors will take place at five processing plants, including the Karro Food Group's Malton plant, which is already involved in the wider trial of CCIR.

CCIR refers to the information collected during ante and post mortem inspection by officials and sent back to farmers to improve animal health and welfare and ultimately food safety

The exercise will aim to help standardise and streamline the quality of data provided, according to AHDB Pork.

In the testing phase, Karro will be using additional screens on the line to record the new condensed list of offal and carcase conditions.

The project is being driven by AHDB Pork and the Food Standards Agency (FSA), with support from the British Meat Processors Association, but is being treated with a healthy degree of scepticism by the National Pig Association.

This is because the AHDB Pork Board's current intention is for CCIR to become strong enough to enable the industry's popular British Pig Health Scheme (BPHS) be wound up from March next year.

At its most recent meeting, members of the NPA producer group were adamant the BPHS was more useful to producers and vets than CCIR.

NPA chairman Richard Lister, criticised the timing of the change. At a time when the industry was going to have to cut back on antibiotic use, it would be 'invaluable to have BPHS data to help with our decision- making', he said.

AHDB Pork director Mick Sloyan told the meeting if the industry was adamant BPHS should remain it would be considered for their next Business Plan. However, producers would need to accept that other initiatives would have to be dropped as resources are limited.

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said the association was becoming increasingly concerned about the FSA's plan to release lots of additional data onto the internet, with 'seemingly no real thought as to how the data might be used and by whom'.

"Aside from the fact that the quality of CCIR data is debatable, it hadn't even thought about the possibility of a country we export to seeing information out of context and deciding to shut borders as a result," she added.

AHDB Pork food safety project manager Emma Bailey-Beech said Karro saw 'great potential in supplying pig producers with accurate real-time information concerning the health and welfare of pigs delivered to site'.

Following the trials, all the FSA inspectors will be trained with the finalised conditions cards.

"The effectiveness of both the condition cards and training package will be validated with an online verification assessment in late September. Once complete, this training will be rolled out regionally.