Balut production and processing
If you are producing and processing balut, you must have a registered risk management programme. This is required under the Animal Products Act 1999. Your risk management programme must be verified.
Legislation relevant to balut
Balut producers and processors must comply with all relevant requirements in 3 Acts.
Animal welfare considerations for balut production
Under the Animal Welfare Act 1999, pre-hatched birds that are in the last half of their development period are included in the definition of an animal. They must be humanely killed to avoid ill-treatment. However, there are no codes of animal welfare or animal welfare regulations that are specific to balut production.
Recommendations for humane killing of pre-hatched birds
The Code of Welfare for Commercial Slaughter requires that animals must be insensible before they are killed and be confirmed as dead before further processing occurs. Balut production is not captured under this code.
However, MPI recommends humane killing of pre-hatched birds intended for balut is done similarly to other animals – stun and kill, then verify death. For balut, this should occur prior to the egg being boiled for consumption. An example of these steps would be:
- chilling of eggs at temperatures less than 4°C for 4 hours (stun and kill), then
- candling or using a digital egg monitor to confirm death of the pre-hatched bird (verification of death).
Reasons for these recommendations
We want to encourage balut producers to mitigate welfare risks (known or presumed) to the pre-hatched birds, while also acknowledging that there is not yet a full understanding of the welfare implications of balut production. Our recommendation is therefore based on taking a precautionary approach to minimising animal welfare risks to the pre-hatched bird, to meet the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act 1999, good practice, and available science.
Pre-hatched birds that are in the first half of their development period (less than 50%) are not covered under the Animal Welfare Act 1999, and the requirements for humane killing do not apply. However, we recommend that a humane killing approach is also used, in the interests of good practice.
The Animal Welfare Act, codes, and regulations
The Animal Welfare Act 1999 is the primary law relating to care of animals in New Zealand. The Act places a duty of care on people in charge of animals to meet the animal's needs. This includes a requirement for animals to be killed in a way that does not result in unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress to the animal.
The Act is supported by regulations and codes of welfare.
- Regulations set requirements that must be met or set standards that must not be breached.
- Codes of welfare set out minimum standards and best practice for animal welfare, for many animals, and animal activities. They play an important role in improving animal welfare in New Zealand.
Other requirements that must be met for balut eggs
All poultry and egg products intended for human consumption must also comply with relevant parts in chapters 1 and 2 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.
Producers and processors must also take part in monitoring programmes.
Fees and charges
We recover costs from the poultry and egg industry for essential services we provide, including registration, maintaining standards, and ensuring compliance.