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Live poultry transport

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Live poultry transporters are businesses transporting more than 100 birds at any one time from farm to abattoir.

Poultry includes:

  • chicken
  • turkey
  • duck
  • squab (pigeon)
  • goose
  • pheasant
  • quail
  • guinea fowl
  • muttonbird and
  • other avian species (except ratite)

Licensing, registration

Live poultry transporters do not need a NSW Food Authority licence.

However, live poultry transporters need to notify the Food Authority of their business and food activity details. This can be done for free online.

You need to keep your notification up to date if any of your details change after you have notified, so it's a good idea to keep your reference number.

If any of your details change you need to update them by contacting the NSW Food Authority at or on 1300 552 406, option 2.

Notification records are private for each food business, so if you purchase an existing business you need to notify the Food Authority with your details.

Skills & knowledge

There are no formal food safety qualifications required for live poultry transporters.

Each food handler and person in control of a food business is required to have food safety skills and knowledge appropriate to their food handling activities.

See FSANZ guide chapter 3.2.2 Division 2 in Safe Food Australia.

Requirements are set out in the Food Standards Code, Standard 3.2.2 - Food Safety Practices and General Requirements, clause 3.

Construction & facilities

Transporters need to:

  • ensure that equipment (eg crates, modules) and transportation vehicles are designed and constructed in a way that minimises the contamination of poultry, allows for effective cleaning and sanitising, and minimises the shelter available for pests and vermin
  • keep equipment (eg crates, modules) and transportation vehicles clean, sanitary and in good repair to ensure poultry is not made unsuitable.

Hygiene & handling

Transporters should:

  • ensure chemicals are suitable for their intended use and used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions (for more detail see the factsheet Suitability of chemicals used in food businesses)
  • ensure crates/modules and transportation vehicles are cleaned and sanitised after each load of birds is delivered to the processor
  • minimise the transmission of bacteria by implementing steps to effectively clean and sanitise crates and modules, such as:
    • soaking for an adequate length of time
    • brushing to soften and dislodge extraneous, visible matter
    • washing for a sufficient time
    • applying a chemical sanitiser (the process of sanitising is to apply heat and/or chemicals to a surface so that the number of microorganisms on the surface is reduced to an acceptable level)
  • check that crate/module surfaces are clean to touch and free of extraneous visible matter and unpleasant odours after cleaning
  • maintain crates/modules in good repair as dents or breaks may host bacteria
  • discard crates/modules that cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitised.

Where poultry processors are responsible for cleaning and sanitising crates, they should include procedures in their Food Safety Program on how they handle, clean and sanitise crates at the processing site.

Handling poultry

Transporters must have appropriate skills and knowledge in food safety and food hygiene to perform their job safely and competently.

Exercising personal hygiene and health practices will ensure transporters do not make the poultry unsuitable for sale. Good personal hygiene practices should include:

  • sanitising hands and using footbaths before entering sheds
  • washing hands thoroughly with soap and sanitiser after handling sick or dead birds
  • wearing protective clothing and boots
  • reporting illness such as vomiting, diarrhoea or fever to their employer.

Transport workers should be made aware of their food safety and hygiene responsibilities through training or by following the requirements outlined on this page.

Disposal of waste

Transporters must store, handle or dispose of waste in a manner that will not make the poultry unsuitable.

Transporters should promptly remove dead birds from vehicles and dispose of them in a safe and hygienic manner.

Biosecurity: pick up & transport

Biosecurity requirements aim to reduce the transmission of any disease or contaminant from one farm to another – something that can happen easily with the movement of people, vehicles and equipment.

Transporters should be aware of their responsibilities when entering and leaving a farm, and comply with any biosecurity requirements at that facility.

Specific measures are outlined on the Department of Agriculture website in the National Farm Biosecurity Manual for Poultry Production. The manual details several requirements including:

  • Section 3.5 – Requirements for specified movements (for example, pick-up of poultry)
  • Section 3.6 – Entry procedures for bird sheds

Food safety controls

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

They also include food recall requirements.

Record keeping

Good record keeping will assist transporters to be able to identify the immediate recipient of the poultry they transport.

Transporters should keep records of:

  • the grower’s business name and address where the birds were collected from
  • the processor’s business name and address where the birds were delivered to
  • batch identification details (including date of delivery and quantity of poultry delivered).


There are no specific labelling requirements for live poultry transport.


There is no routine microbiological or chemical testing of product required of live poultry transporters.

Inspections & audits

An inspection of live poultry transporters will be undertaken during processing facility audits.

Animal welfare

It is a legal duty for anyone in charge of an animal to provide for its needs in an appropriate way.

All poultry transported to or from sale must be:

  • healthy and fit for sale
  • transported in a way that does not cause injury or undue suffering
  • transported in an appropriate cage or crate that provides adequate room, ventilation, shade and shelter.

In NSW the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (General) Regulation 2012 promote the responsible care and handling of animals. The Regulation adopts national codes of practice that provide detailed information on acceptable animal welfare practices for husbandry of livestock.

For more information on animal welfare visit the NSW Department of Primary Industry’s website

Legislation & standards

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