Member States acceding to the EU from 2004 had to ensure that their slaughterhouses met the EU’s hygiene requirements. As these requirements were generally to a much higher standard than existing national requirements, EU funds were provided to modernise slaughterhouses in order to facilitate their compliance with hygiene requirements. The EU provided around 117 million euro to 241 slaughterhouses under the Sapard programme.
The audit examined the use made of these and other funds and whether there were adequate systems to implement the hygiene standards. It included visits to slaughterhouses in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovenia that benefited from EU funding.
The main message from the audit is that the overall design of systems for supervision of hygiene requirements by the Commission and the competent authorities in the Member States concerned was adequate.
However the audit revealed a number of weaknesses in the implementation of these systems (concerning both the supervision of food business operators, and their implementation of the hygiene requirements).
The detected weaknesses show that increased rigour is needed at all levels to mitigate risks. These weaknesses do not call into question the overall design of the systems but demonstrate the need for increased rigour in the application of checks at all levels to mitigate risks and avoid potentially serious problems to food safety.
Thursday October 25, 2012/ European Commission/ European Union.