The North West provincial government, via the department of agriculture and rural development, has taken a step in recognising and acknowledging the role of abattoirs in the province with an awards ceremony.
Departmental spokesperson Emelda Setlhako said the aim of the Abattoir Hygiene Rating Scheme Awards was to appreciate the efforts by abattoirs in the contribution to food security and safety across the North West province.
“The aim of these awards was to enhance food security, public health, and animal welfare by improving the hygienic quality of meat while prolonging the shelf-life of meat and meat products, decreasing food spoilage and wastage, and further lowering the risk of food poisoning from meat products,” Setlhako said.
Upholding the highest of standards
According to Setlhako, this year’s abattoir awards were based on the 2022 abattoir audits and inspections that were carried out by the department’s veterinary public health practitioners and state veterinarians.
“Through regular inspections, abattoirs are monitored within the meat safety and standards requirements, and regulations to ensure safe meat is produced for human consumption,” Setlhako added.
Meanwhile, the head of the department, Thupi Mokhatla, noted that the audits were conducted using a hygiene assessment system (HAS) document which was developed at the national level and is used by all provinces.
“These awards come after a three-year absence in our midst since 2019. As a department we further assure and reassure all our stakeholders that we will do our best to produce healthy meat including all related products within the abattoir industry,” Mokhatla said.
The department said a total of 46 abattoirs were registered and audited in 2022, eighteen were high throughput, twenty-two were low throughput and six were rural abattoirs.
The role of the Meat Safety Act
“The Meat Safety Act provides measures to promote meat safety and the safety of animal products, to establish and maintain essential national standards in respect of abattoirs, to regulate the importation and exportation of meat, to establish meat safety schemes, and to provide for matters concerned therewith,” Setlhako said.
The overall winner of high throughput red meat, Sanelisiwe Maseng of SoloProp Trading at Vryburg Abattoir, thanked the department for these prestigious awards, and the veterinary public health officers (VPHOs) for inspiring them to continue with compliance to ensure food security and food safety.
Setlhako said three audits were conducted per abattoir during the course of 2022 and the overall performance was based on the results of all three audits conducted during the year. Of the 46 abattoirs, 20 were poultry and 26 red meat.
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