AQIS Meat Notice 2009/04 - Additional requirements for wild game processing for export

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AQIS Meat Notice Number 2009/04

NSFS Ref 24

(Last Notice of this Category: 2005/02)

Additional Requirements for Wild Game Processing for Export

Date of Effect: 17 September 2009     Date of Expiry: Until Further Notice

Contact Officers

Albert Cobb
Phone: 0417 046 476

John Langbridge
07 3246 8713

Stephen Tidswell
Phone: 0407 949 565

Distribution Categories

  • Central and Regional Office
  • OIC Inspection Staff, Export Establishments
  • Managers, Export Game Meat Establishments
  • State Food Authorities

Implementation Schedule

(To be completed by the On Plant Supervisor on the AQIS file copy)

  • Date received:
  • Date discussed with management:
  • Initial implementation date:
  • Date completed:
  • Management Representative Initials:
  • AQIS OPS initials:

1. Purpose

To inform management of export registered wild game processing establishments of requirements that are additional to and in some cases different to those outlined in AMN 2005/02. These are to be implemented and incorporated into the establishment’s draft Approved Arrangement (AA) before the AA is formally approved.

2. Scope

This notice applies to all export registered establishments processing wild game for human consumption. This notice introduces some requirements that require wild game harvesters and field depot1 operators to change some existing practices.

3. Background

AMN 2005/02 outlined action to be taken to comply with the Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production of Game Meat for Human Consumption (AS 4464) and with additional overseas country requirements. In particular, it outlined the necessity for establishment management to develop documentation to satisfy the AA requirement of the Australian Standard.

Over the last 12 months, the Australian wild game field harvesting, field depot chilling, and wild game meat processing sectors of the industry have been subjected to audits by importing countries, AQIS and State Food Authorities. These audits have identified the need to make some changes to current procedures. In addition, AQIS and industry have considered action necessary to expand exports into further markets.

Following significant consultation with industry it has been agreed to introduce further measures aimed at maintaining and enhancing market access. These measures relate to changes in harvester wild game carcase tagging procedures, field depot temperature monitoring and recording, carcase transport from field depot to processing establishments, and processing establishment carcase receival and handling procedures including implementation of a maximum time between harvest and processing for human consumption. These requirements are to be addressed in the processing establishments’ Approved Arrangements.

These changes are consistent with the Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production of Wild Game Meat for Human Consumption (AS 4464:2007) and will help prepare the industry for the introduction of the Export Control (Wild Game Meat and Wild Game Meat Products) Orders which will reference this standard, later this year.

4. Action

4.1 Harvester carcase tags

Note: this requirement has changed since AMN 2005/02

From 28/9/09, only carcases with numbered harvester tags complying with at least the following information are to be processed for human consumption:

a) Identifies the field harvester by accreditation number and name

b) Identifies the place of harvest (eg: by name of property, or property owner, or quota management authority property identification number)

c) Contains date of killing

d) Contains time of killing

e) Contains a declaration signed by the harvester which declares:

i] No abnormal behaviour was observed before killing

ii] No abnormal characteristics were observed during the examination of the body and any removed viscera

iii] There is no suspicion of environmental contamination

iv] If killed during daylight the carcase was transported to a field depot or wild game meat processing establishment within 2 hours of harvest. If killed between sunset and sunrise it was transported to a field depot or wild game meat processing establishment no later than 2 hours after sunrise with a maximum of 12 hours between killing and placing into a field depot.


4.2 Field depot chilling records to be available before carcases are processed

4.2.1 From 28/9/09 only carcases for which the processor has obtained and examined copies of records of the following manually taken temperatures are to be processed for human consumption:

a) records that confirm sampled carcases from each field depot were chilled to a deep muscle temperature of 7 degrees Celsius or lower within 24 hours of placement into the field depot (at least 2 carcases must have been sampled for each day/night during which carcases were harvested)

b) a daily record of each field depot air temperature

c) daily deep muscle temperatures of sampled carcases from each field depot after the primary chilling to 7 degrees Celsius (at least 2 carcases must have been sampled for each day)

d) carcase deep muscle temperatures at load-out from each field depot (at least 2 carcases must be sampled from each of the front, middle and back of the field depot)

4.2.2 Air and deep muscle data logging equipment that automatically records temperatures, is progressively being phased-in at field depots as a verification of the manually taken temperatures addressed in 4.2.1. It is expected that results of air temperature logging will be available for all ` carcases to be processed after 12/10/09. By 12/10/09 it is expected that at least one deep muscle logging record will be available at each wild game meat processing establishment for each active field depot, with progressive implementation leading to a record being available for each field depot load-out for carcases processed after 31/1/10.

4.2.3 For those field depots which have more than one chilling facility at the site, 4.2.1 and 4.2.2 are to apply to each chilling facility.

4.3 Air temperature logger in transport vehicle

From 14/9/09, only game carcases transported from field depots to wild game processing establishments in licensed meat transport vehicles that have a functional air temperature logger are to be processed for human consumption:

a) the record of the air temperatures of the transport from the field depots to the processing establishment must be provided with each load. This record must be examined and appropriate corrective action taken where necessary.

4.4 Review of pre-dressing inspection

Facilities and techniques for the pre-dressing inspection conducted at carcase receival into a wild game meat processing establishment, to determine whether or not carcases are suitable for dressing for the production of wild game meat for human consumption, are to be reviewed. The Approved Arrangement documents are to be adjusted accordingly. Recent experiences show that improved lighting and technique is leading to enhanced identification of field depots and harvesters operating below the optimum standard.

4.5 Reporting of significant rejections of carcases at pre-dressing inspection

Where significant rejections of carcases are made by company representatives at the pre-dressing inspection for defects such as off-condition, mould, dressing defects and failure to comply with tagging and field chilling temperature requirements, establishments must:

a) document the findings in-line with commitments outlined in the Incident Reporting section of the Approved Arrangement

b) institute documented feedback to the field depot operator/ harvester and implement corrective action which must also be adequately recorded

c) as soon as practicable notify the AQIS On-Plant Veterinary Officer of the findings and of subsequent corrective action

d) notify the findings and corrective action taken to the State Food Authority which has responsibility for accrediting the harvester/ field depot/ transport vehicle believed responsible for the non-compliance (refer to State contacts below).

4.6 Monitoring of time since harvest

From 21/9/09, carcases are NOT to be processed for human consumption if they have exceeded an interim maximum period of 14 days between harvest and processing. Processing establishment management must institute chiller management measures that ensure that received carcases are processed in a systematic way, so that carcases approaching the end of this maximum period are processed expeditiously.

4.7 Health marking of carcases from which game meat is exported to the European Union (EU)

Only carcases that have been stamped with the game pentagonal stamp after passing post-mortem inspection are to be moved from the dressing floor to the boning room for boning or cutting for export to member states of the EU or to countries requiring adherence with EU requirements.

5. Responsibilities

5.1 Wild Game harvesters:

5.1.1 Apply completed harvester tags containing the signed declaration outlined in this notice.

5.1.2 Hygienically dress carcases.

5.1.3 Comply with timeframes outlined in 4.1e (iv).

5.2 Wild Game Field Depot Operators:

5.2.1 Take and record air and carcase temperatures in accordance with this notice and supply a copy of those temperatures with each load-out of carcases.

5.2.2 Implement automated data logging of air and deep muscle temperature.

5.2.3 Don’t accept grossly contaminated carcases or carcases not fully compliant with tagging requirements.

5.3 Wild Game Processing Management:

5.3.1 Amend their Approved Arrangement to address the new and altered requirements outlined in this notice.

5.3.2 Implement those new or altered procedures relating to:

a) monitoring for presence and completeness of carcase tagging

b) receival and examination of field depot temperature records (both manual and data logged)

c) air temperature logging of transport vehicles and receival and examination of transport air temperature records

d) reviewing of pre-dressing inspection facilities and technique

e) rejection of carcases at pre-dressing inspection including feedback to appropriate field depot operator/ harvester, implementation of appropriate corrective action and incident reporting responsibilities

f) compliance with the 14 day interim maximum between harvest and processing

g) EU carcase health marking.

5.4 AQIS On-Plant Veterinarian:

5.4.1 Verify the Approved Arrangement adequately addresses the requirements of this notice.

5.4.2 Monitor implementation and on-going compliance with this notice, particularly ensuring adequate records are kept by the establishment, and that appropriate notifications are made by the establishment to the relevant food authority.

5.4.3 Examine a sample of carcases where significant pre-dressing inspection rejections are made by the establishment and keep records relating to that examination.

5.4.4 Verify game meat is only supplied to EU or markets that require adherence with EU requirements from passed carcases health marked in accordance with this notice.

5.5 AQIS Area Technical Manager:

5.5.1 Verify and approve amendments to the establishment’s Approved Arrangement.

5.5.2 Verify establishment and AQIS on-going compliance with this notice.

6. State Food Authority Contacts

State Food Authority Contacts

Food Authority

Contact Person

Postal Address


e-mail address

Safe Food Queensland

Phil Pond

PO Box 440,
Spring Hill
Qld 4004

Phil Pond


NSW Food Authority

David Hook
Manager – Audit and Compliance

PO Box 6682
Silverwater NSW 1811

T- 02 9741 4818

F– 02 9741 4898

David Hook


SA Meat Hygiene Unit, PIRSA

Ray Coffey

T- 08 8207 7947

Ray Coffey

WA Meat Industry Authority

Stan Goodchild

T- 08 9242 9621

Stan Goodchild


David Frost

T- 08 8999 2255

David Frost


Meat Hygiene Standards Section, Tasmanian DPIW&E

Chris Lyall
Manager (Food Safety)

PO Box 46
Kings Meadow,

T- 03 6336 5386

F- 03 6343 2833

Chris Lyall


7. References

AQIS Meat Notice 2005/02

Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production of Game Meat for Human Consumption – AS 4464


Carol Sheridan
National Manager
Meat Exports

1 Field depot: means a depot approved by the controlling authority (or any other authority as required under state or territory legislation) in which wild game animal carcases are held under refrigeration, pending transport to a wild game meat processing premises (Australian Standards)