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ORFC Small Abattoir Highlights

Oxford Real Farming Conference Highlights for Small Abattoirs

The small abattoir sector will be encouraged by comments by speakers at the ORFC session on small abattoirs run by SFT. Comments by an American abattoir owner on using animal by-products in manufacture pet food products and composting were very interesting.

Emily Miles, FSA CEO, acknowledged that the one size fits all approach to abattoir regulation needed review and was being looked at under operational transformation. Emily also intimated that government agencies needed to coordinate more in data sharing and in respect of providing consumers with information about their food.

A Pasture Fed Livestock Association supported project on hides to leather from local farms and small abattoirs was encouraging.

Marisa Heath gave an outline of the new Abattoir Sector Group which NCB are members of and asked for interested parties to support the group and involve their local MP’s.

The sector group is looking to help develop an environment where small abattoirs are sustainable into the future so farmers have access to their services and the public have access to local meat.

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Wild Game


Wild Game


The Food Standards Agency recently updated their guidance, “Supply of Game for Human Consumption”. It is mainly a cosmetic updating but could lead to greater regulatory activity with your EHO asking questions about your game handling on their next visit.

The requirement to be licensed to sell game has long gone (and sadly missed by many) but there are still a few procedures butchers need to remember, especially if you buy from local hunters and shoots etc.

The most important requirement is that you know who you are buying from. Ask them if they are registered with the local authority as a food business (they do not have to be an “approved game handling establishment”) if they are supplying small quantities on a local basis. This assumes that you are supplying the end consumer.

If you supply other businesses things can get more complicated- call me to discuss further or check out the guidance for yourself. The definition of local is generous; local means within the hunter’s own county plus the greater of either the neighbouring county or counties OR 30 miles from the supplying county boundary.

The other main legal requirements are to keep records. Ensure that your supplier gives you a proper detailed invoice for every supply. The recommended temperature control for wild game is below 70C for large game and 40C for small game.

Many EHO’s will be anxious about how you handle game especially if it is still in fur and feather and/or needs evisceration. Make sure you have a documented procedure and excellent separation followed by a thorough clean and disinfection. EHO’s will often expect separation to be a designated separate room. Where this is not possible enforcement officers will usually tolerate separation in time provided you have robust procedures in place. Call me if this becomes an issue for you.