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General Circular 02/2020 - Improving equivalence of alternative technique procedures (AS 4696:2007)

13 Feb 2020

An important update from the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), Biosecurity & Food Safety for all licensed domestic abattoirs in NSW.

Changes to Schedules of Australian Standard 4696:2007

In December 2018, the DPI released an alternative techniques guideline to provide domestic
operators access to improved post mortem inspection techniques as provided in the Australian
Standard for Hygienic Production and Transportation of Meat and Meat Products for Human
Consumption (Australian Meat Standard) (Anonymous, 2007). A link to this release is below:

http://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/_Documents/circulars/GenCirc-2018-02.pdf

This release was part of a major reform agenda driven by the red meat and pork industries to
modernise some traditional post mortem inspection techniques in the light of improvements in animal
health, developments in inspection procedures overseas and Australian research findings.

Further reform work is now ready for release to domestic premises.

This work complements and adds to existing reforms released to domestic premises in December
2018. 

The new reforms are:

  • Schedule 2: Reduced incisions for C.Bovis in Cattle (retention of incisions on hearts only)
  • Schedule 3 (application of risk based approach to disposition judgements):
    • Melanoma in pigs
    • Peri-acute Pneumonia in pigs
    • Peri-acute Pneumonia of Cattle
    • Polyarthritis of Pigs
    • Polyarthritis in Cattle
    • Arthritis in Sheep and Goats
    • Pneumonia and Pleurisy in sheep and goats

These further reforms have been compiled into a new guideline that will replace the existing Guideline
issued for Schedule 2 in December 2018.

When do these changes take effect?

These changes will be given effect on 1 March 2020 by the AMRG Guideline 2020:1 – Alternative techniques guideline to Schedules 2 and 3 of AS 4696:2007 (the Guideline) (link in resources below) using the equivalence provision at the beginning of AS 4696:2007.

Audits will commence against the new revised procedures on 1 January 2021. During the period of 1 March 2020 – 31 December 2020, it will be permissible for domestic premises to apply the alternative techniques provided in the attached guideline or apply the techniques as currently provided in Schedules 2 and 3 of AS 4696:2007.

From 1 January 2021, the current procedures in Schedules 2 and 3 of AS 4696:2007 will become non-compliant with cl 10.5 of AS 4696:2007. Premises will need to adopt the new procedures provided in the attached alternative techniques guideline into their operations by this date.

From 1 January 2021, the guideline will then become the document that NSW DPI Biosecurity & Food Safety, as the controlling meat authority in NSW, will use to determine compliance with Schedules 2 and 3 of AS 4696:2007. 

Resources:

Further information:

Contact Mark Mackie, Manager Regulatory Operations Unit, Compliance & Integrity Systems at
Mark.Mackie@dpi.nsw.gov.au, or call the NSW Food Authority Helpline on 1300 552 406.

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