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Animal food vans

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An animal food van is any vehicle used for the transport of meat intended for use as animal food, including vehicles:

  • fitted with rails from which carcases that have been skinned are suspended
  • not fitted with rails and are used to transport animal food meat in tubs, cartons or plastic bags, or whole carcases (as for a butchers panel van)
  • used to transport animal food carcases that are unflayed and eviscerated, from the point of harvest to a chiller (depot).

Animal food vans do not include an animal food field harvesting van, knackery, meat processing plant nor game meat processing plant.

Licensing, registration

Operators of animal food vans are required to:

  1. apply for a Food Authority licence online or download an application form (PDF, 394.88 KB), print and post it
  2. meet food safety standards
  3. prepare for routine vehicle inspections.

For more see applying for a food licence.

Van licence label

The Food Authority issues holders of animal food van licences with a licensing label (sticker).

This label needs to be displayed on the vehicle at all times.

Skills & knowledge

There are no formal food safety qualifications required for animal food vans, however, each person in control of a food business is required to have food safety skills and knowledge appropriate to their food handling activities.

Construction & facilities

In order to provide animals with safe food and protect human health, the business must transport meat or meat products:

  • using time and temperature controls that prevent or reduce the growth of microbiological hazards in the product
  • so that vehicles are not the source of contamination of animals, meat or meat products.

Vehicles and equipment need to:

  • allow for hygienic transportation
  • be effectively inspected and monitored
  • be effectively cleaned and maintained
  • have surfaces that are durable
  • have surfaces that are smooth, impervious and corrosion resistant
  • have surfaces that are non toxic, resistant to food, detergent and sanitising agents under normal operating conditions
  • have surfaces that do not transmit odour or taste
  • have surfaces that are capable of withstanding repeated cleaning and sanitising
  • have surfaces that allow visible contamination to be easily seen.

The meat carrying compartment of the vehicle needs to:

  • be constructed to prevent the contamination of the meat during loading and unloading
  • be constructed to exclude entry of any animal including dogs, birds, cats, rodents and insects
  • be separate from the rest of the vehicle
  • be adequately insulated and supplied with operating refrigeration equipment
  • effectively prevent the entry of odours, smoke, dust and other environmental contaminants during transport.

Proper insulation, and where necessary refrigeration equipment, must be provided during transport so that:

  • the surface temperature of carcases is not more than 7°C
  • the internal temperature of meat, other than carcases, is not more than 5°C

Cooling unit discharge must be contained and directed outside the vehicle.

Requirements are set out in CSIRO Standard for the Hygienic Production of Pet Meat: PISC Technical Report 88.

Hygiene & handling

Animal food vans must be clean at the beginning of each day.

Wild animal carcasses need to be protected from contamination and deterioration to maintain standards of hygiene during transport and all other times before arrival at deports or processing facilities.

All possible precautions need to be taken to prevent harbourage of pests and control insects, birds, rodents and other pests.

Use of pesticides must not risk contaminating product or equipment.

Operators need to ensure no person known to be suffering from, or a carrier of, a disease or condition that can be transmitted through pet meat works is involved in any capacity where it is possible to contaminate product.

After handling diseased or suspect material, hands need to be thoroughly washed and protective gloves washed and sanitised before handling pet meat or equipment used on pet meat.

Wild animal carcasses for pet meat must not be transported with carcasses of any non-wild animal.

Requirements are set out in CSIRO Standard for the Hygienic Production of Pet Meat: PISC Technical Report 88.

See also the factsheet cleaning & sanitising in food businesses (pdf)

Food safety controls

Food safety controls include the requirements for animal food handling from receipt to disposal.

Temperature controls

Animal food meat and meat products, other than shelf stable meat products, must be transported:

  • at a temperature no warmer than 7°C, for a carcass, side, quarter and bone-in major separated cut
  • at a temperature no warmer than 5°C at the site of microbiological concern for any other meat or meat product
  • in accordance with the alternative time and temperature controls specified in the approved arrangement of the meat business that stores and handles them.

Record keeping 

Written records allow a business to demonstrate compliance with requirements to relevant authority .

Some records of product batches and supply can help if a recall is required. An up-to-date list of the businesses to which they supply their products, as well as which batches of product have gone where will assist in the event of a recall.

Businesses could consider what other records may help as part of best practice.


No routine microbiological or chemical testing of product is required of animal food vans.


Stains and staining materials used to identify meat for animal food must not be removed from meat that has been stained.

No other product labelling is required of animal food vans.

Inspections & audits

Animal food vans will be routinely checked by the Food Authority for compliance with requirements.

Compliance or regulatory action will be taken if required.

There are fees for inspections, payable by the licence holder.

For more see audits, inspections and compliance.

Legislation & standards

Operators of animal food vans need to meet the requirements set out in:

  1. Food Act 2003 (NSW)
  2. Food Regulation 2015 including relevant parts of the Meat Food Safety Scheme
  3. Food Standards Code 
  4. Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production of Pet Meat: PISC Report 88
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