Every EU member state has its own competent authority, responsible for the supervision over the meat production. The Food and Veterinary Office of the European Union performs regular audits in the member states to ensure the competent authorities comply with the EU standards.
In the Netherlands, the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) is the competent authority.
The NVWA is active in a wide variety of sectors, amongst which the meat sectors. They keep strict supervision over the meat producing companies throughout the production chain.
In slaughterhouses, an official veterinarian of the NVWA is present at all times during production. They approve the premises before slaughter commences and are present until the end of the slaughter day. Slaughterhouses may not slaughter without the presence of the NVWA.
Meat-inspectors perform the inspection of the carcasses. The slaughterhouses employ them, but they work under supervision of the NVWA.
Further processors (cutting plants etc.) undergo regular audits by the NVWA. The frequency of audits is partly based on the performance of the company. Companies that show non-compliance, are subject to a more intensive audit-program then companies complying with legislation.
All companies being part of the meat production chain have to work according to the principles of HACCP, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points. These principles may also be included in company specific hygiene protocols. Each company assesses their production processes and determines where the risks are. These points, with their additional controls and check-up to minimize the risks, are included in the HACCP-protocol of that meat-producing establishment.
The NVWA checks at least on a yearly basis whether a sufficient HACCP-plan is present and whether the company complies with it.
All companies being part of the meat production chain have to work according to the principles of HACCP, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points.
Im- and export
The NVWA is not only responsible for the domestic production, but also for supervision on im- and export of animal products.
The European Union is in charge of approving third countries for import into the European Union. After thorough evaluation and inspections, the European Union gives its approval for import. After that, all member states may import that specific product.
Products imported into the European Union have to comply with relevant EU legislation and must be accompanied by an Animal Health Certificate, issued by the competent authority of the country of origin. At arrival at the border, the NVWA checks (together with customs) the documentation and were applicable the products before clearing the goods for import into the Netherlands.
Meat producers apply for an animal health certificate in the online export system of the NVWA. The NVWA checks whether the products comply with all requirements in the certificate, after which they stamp and sign it. An animal health certificate accompanies every consignment with products for human consumption exported to third countries.
The member states of the European Union form one internal market. This means products can move freely between different member states. Unless countries experience outbreaks of notifiable diseases; then restrictions might apply.
Movements of live animals between member states are always notified in the European Traces system and health certificates from the country of origin accompany the animals. This prevents diseases to spread across borders and allows animals/products to be traced back to their origin when necessary.