Non-ambulatory veal slaughtered in the Netherlands will no longer be exported to the United States.

Dr. C.J.M. Bruschke, the chief veterinary officer for the Netherlands, has promised to keep veal calves that cannot walk from entering the U.S. food supply.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service recently completed on-site audits of the meat inspections systems of the Netherlands, Ireland, and Costa Rica.

The audits were to determine if the food inspection systems of the foreign counties for meat and eggs are “equivalent to that of the United States, with the ability to export products that are safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and correctly labeled and packaged.”

The Netherlands exports raw-intact veal, raw-intact pork, thermally processed commercial sterile pork, heat-treated but not fully cooked non-shelf stable pork, and processed egg products.

Ireland exports raw beef and raw pork products to the United States. Costa Rica exports raw intact beef products to the United States.

Six system equivalent components were used in the three country audits. The audit components included:

  • Government Oversight (e.g., Organization and Administration)
  • Government Statutory Authority (Food Safety and Other Consumer Protection regulations.)
  • Government Sanitation
  • Government Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Pont (HACCP) System
  • Government Residue Testing Programs
  • Government Microbiological Testing Programs.

Audits for the Netherlands, Ireland, and Costa Rica did not identify any deficiencies that are an immediate threat to public health, according to the FSIS Office of International Coordination.

That does not mean FSIS did not find deficiencies.
The audit found the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) inspection personnel “are not confirming acceptable testing results from the livestock carcasses and parts subject to routine government chemical and residue testing before signing the export certificates.”

It further found NVWA using a European Union standard for chemical residue tests that “do not correspond to levels permitted by FSIS. Nor does the NVWA ensure egg-processing facilities meet FSIS standards identified in the last two audit cycles.

Additional findings addressed microbiological testing and sanitation issues.

The audit of Ireland’s regulation of its meat industry focused on government oversight, sanitation, and HACCP systems. The government committed to addressing the audit findings by the FSIS inspectors. Eight establishments regulated by the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine.

The audit of Costa Rica’s food safety systems also found areas where inspection personnel need to make improvements along with concerns about HACCP and microbiological testing. Auditors want Costa Rican officials to do a better job storing product bound for export to the U.S.

The Costa Rican Ministry of Agriculture agreed to address the FSIS concerns during the exit interview with the audit team.

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