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21 March 1997
The Ministry of Agriculture’s Regulatory Authority is concerned about the apparent confusion regarding the preparation and sale of uninspected meat.
Under the Meat Act 1981, any meat sold for human consumption must have been killed in an abattoir or meat export slaughterhouse and inspected by an official meat inspector(with the exemption of two remaining South Island rural slaughterhouses).
A stock farmer can slaughter and dress an animal on his or her property, or have it done at a custom killing premises, then take it for cutting and packing on a premises used for the sale and storage of meat for human consumption. The uninspected meat must not be sold. A farmer found attempting to sell uninspected meat will be prosecuted.
Meat killed by a farmer on his or her property must only be used by the farmer and his or her family, and/or sold to farm employees on the property. This is the only exception.
Under the Meat Act, it is not in a butcher’s interest to cut up uninspected meat for farmers on their premises unless he or she can prove that it is not for sale for human consumption. The law deems any meat found on a butcher’s premises is for sale for human consumption and the onus is on the butcher to prove otherwise. Butchers must also ensure that the handling of the uninspected meat on the premises does not contravene the detailed requirements of Regulation 10A of the Food Hygiene Regulations 1974.
A butcher was recently charged under the Meat Act for preparing uninspected meat which was being advertised for sale.