According to the European Commission’s Health and Safety Agency, there are still major problems with Poland’s beef and poultry management system.

A remote audit by DG Sante in Poland in October 2021 took two audits on beef and poultry in 2019 and made nine recommendations.

In 2019, a Polish television program showed practices in cattle slaughterhouses, showing violations of EU animal welfare law and possibly food safety regulations.

DG Sante said several steps were taken to address the findings following the beef and poultry audits. However, other shortcomings have not been rectified by the Polish authorities. Beef audit results
The bill announced by the Polish authorities in the Action Plan was put on hold due to high financial costs.

The number of licensed veterinarians has increased since the beef audit, from about 3,300 in 2019 to 5,800 in 2021, but the body’s official staff has declined.

At the time of the audit, licensed veterinarian salaries were based on the number of animals slaughtered, creating a conflict of interest.

“Reductions in the number of competent authorities will lead to further reductions in the oversight of public management at various levels, particularly of the number of licensed veterinarians who have increased significantly during that time. It further undermines assurances of correct and effective performance,” says the auditor.

The latest audit found that the fees charged to food companies for inspecting adult cattle at slaughterhouses remain unchanged from the 2019 beef audit and are below the EU minimum. According to auditors, this will also affect the resources available to competent authorities.

Polish officials said in July 2022 a law was signed to ensure that those in public control, including veterinarians, would be free from conflicts of interest and company renewal fees. A plan to change salaries related to the number of animals slaughtered was also signed on the way.

Lack of animal welfare practices for cattle was also noted. “The lack of sanctions against operators who violate animal welfare regulations not only provides incentives for those operators to continue violating those regulations, but also reduces the likelihood of such cases when they are being systematically dismissed. It may affect the continued willingness of inspection staff to pursue the judiciary,” the report said.

Salmonella remains a problem in the poultry sector

An audit revealed that Salmonella contamination persisted despite the implementation of poultry action plan measures and additional enhanced official sampling.

The site was approved despite inadequate HACCP-based procedures and no related issues detected during formal controls. These included failure to correctly identify microbiological hazards and measures to control or eliminate them, and his lack of an established HACCP team.

A high average line speed of 11,500 birds per hour was also cited as a problem as post-mortem inspection could not be reliably carried out.

“Serious deficiencies in the design and implementation of HACCP plans demonstrate the inability of both food business operators and competent authority personnel to adequately assess the adequacy of these plans. combined with this, the actions taken by both the food business and the competent authorities were not effective and/or not taken in a timely manner to prevent recurrence,” the audit report said.

Polish officials said training workshops will be held from September to November and an online training platform will be available.

DG Sante said salmonella contamination remains a serious problem and has been detected consistently on some farms for several years.This indicates that the risk is not adequately managed.

Data provided to the audit team showed that approximately 15% of self-monitoring results were negative, inconsistent with parallel official sampling results that were positive in 2018.

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Source: Food Safety News

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