The idea of “farm to table” food safety as a strategic activity of the European Union is a response to the demands of today’s customers who more frequently search for high quality products that guarantee that the production standards and animal welfare during breeding and husbandry are respected. This idea also comprises the basis for the functioning of the poultry production process in the European Union and relies on the activities of all the participants of the food chain – from controlling animal provenance, through proper feeding to slaughtering, packing, and transporting.
According to the assumption of full transparency of the particular production stages, food safety controls, systems and legislations were introduced on the territory of the European Union and their aim is to constantly monitor potential hazards and yet keep the quality and flavor of meat. These tasks are performed by the HACCP system (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) which allows to identify the production process. Moreover, the series number on the meat packaging allows to follow the entire chain of the product’s life. The “farm to table” philosophy is a complex safety strategy that guarantying that a final consumer obtains healthy, nutritious, fully valuable product.
In relation to the rules developed and focused on the idea of “farm to table,” the European Union regulations concerning slaughtering, meat processing, and poultry meat storing along with the good production and hygiene good practices can be divided into the following domains:
- resources – a constant supervision of a veterinary physician and the Veterinary Inspection that monitor the producers’ practices concerning hygiene and animal feeding from the moment of choosing breed in order to take proper care of animal health and high quality of meat through supervision and proper provender application;
- control system integration – technical, sanitary and hygiene regulations describe the production conditions and the general infrastructure of a poultry processing facility and they are based on the complex quality standards systems, such as: HACCP, GMP, GHP, SPS, ISO. They allow to preserve strict sanitary and hygiene conditions on the grounds of the facility, closely monitor every stage of production, and discover and remove potential hazards occurring during the entire process;
- animal welfare – general conditions and parameters describing the concentration of birds on a given space, access to feeders and drinking units and open air streams based on humane rules and the control of animal health at every stage of the production process;
- transportation, slaughtering and post-slaughtering conditions – solutions concerning transportation, animal presence in a slaughterhouse, and regulations concerning poultry slaughtering include: the obligation to limit the time needed for transportation to prevent possible bruises and pre-slaughtering shock, following strict slaughtering regulations in line with the existing hygiene control systems, examining herd’s health by a veterinary physician;
- sterile conditions of poultry meat packing and labeling based on limiting the degree of direct contact of meat with air and protecting from the external mechanical and microbiological contamination, presenting complex information about the entire production process on a label.
According to the idea of “farm to table,” the producers are obliged to follow the food safety management systems in the entire production process. It allows to identify the participants thereof at every stage of the production process.
The activities focused on the production process are strengthen by regular supporting activities conducted at a central level, such as: educational projects for consumers and producers conducted on the territory of the European Union, research and educational activities concerning food safety conducted by the European Food Safety Authority, educational programs focused on the hygiene, the on-going supervisions on the territory of the European Union. Thanks to regular audits of the food safety, the producers and authorities are sure that the “farm to table” policy is properly implemented.
“Farm to table” food production comprises a basis for many local quality systems implemented on the territory of the European Union. One of these systems is the QAFP (Quality Assurance for Food Products) that guarantees that the poultry meat producer following this quality system has met a series of strict demands that guarantee high quality, proper structure and flavor of the final product.