Procedure manual - Belplume

1. Production conditions

The Belplume procedures manual has been elaborated around the following outlines:

  • the production of safe chicken meat;
  • guarantees of sound production methods and circumstances;
  • care for the health and well-being of animals;
  • guarantees of transparency and traceability through data exchange and feedback.

The afore-mentioned general principles will be concretized in practical rules and regulations which are directly associated with operational management: the whole of these provisions shall be referred to as “the terms and conditions of approval for the procedures manual”. The interpretation and/or practical application of these terms and conditions of approval usually require(s) further explanation of a highly-specific subject, which is included in the appendices to the terms and conditions of approval. 
Apart from that, the terms and conditions of approval will be different according to the type of business activity within the broiler chain: at present four chapters are taken into consideration, viz. the terms and conditions of approval for reproduction farms, hatcheries, broiler companies and slaughterhouses.
Some typical regulations from the terms and conditions of approval for chicken companies are listed here for illustration purposes:

  • well-equipped hygiene sluice with company-owned clothing and footwear;
  • controlled access to the company by means of a visitor’s register and keeping the industrial buildings locked;
  • separate storage of feed with waiting time;
  • prevention of the introduction of animal diseases by means of birdproof buildings, clean lorries, the use of company-owned clothing and footwear;
  • a correct and well-documented business administration;
  • refrigerated storage of carcasses;
  • an effective vermin control.

2. Zoonosis: prevention and monitoring

Food safety from the perspective of “zoonosis” is one of the spearheads of the production of chicken meat and subsequently an aspect of the Belplume programme to which a great deal of attention and importance is devoted.
In order to prevent the entrance, spread and/or preservation of germs at company sites an extensive number of prevention measures is being imposed.
As far as the hatcheries are concerned all hygiene prevention measures will be bundled in a general plan for Good Hygienic Practice (GHP). Each hatchery uses this in order to describe all terms and conditions as well as regulations with regard to the equipment, the operation, personnel and visitors in order to attain a maximum prevention of the introduction and cross-infection of Salmonella or other pathogenic organisms. The hatcheries’ procedures manual indicates which aspects are to be included in the GHP plan to a minimum extent and these refer to both the equipment, the cleaning and disinfection and the different activities in the hatchery. These provisions are to be considered as a guiding principle which should in turn be applied in a very specific manner within the framework of the actual business situation.The thread of all requirements included in the procedures manual for cutting plants and slaughterhouses for broilers, in full accordance with the Belgian and European legislation, contains the implementation of the HACCP principles in operational management. This means that the slaughterhouses and cutting plants are to master all aspects of food safety in its broadest sense by means of very intensive control, registration and, if necessary, corrective measures. This refers to both incoming raw materials and the internal processing processes. All relevant elements have been elaborated in detail in the “Generic HACCP guide for poultry slaughterhouses and poultry cutting plants” which has been submitted to the FAVV for approval. A sound application the afore-mentioned guiding principles is one of the main conditions for the Belplume procedures manual.In addition to prevention, the Belplume procedures manual also includes a very progressive monitoring of Salmonella:

  • there is compulsory incoming and outgoing monitoring for each link in the chain as far as Salmonella is concerned;
  • if the laboratorium result indicates the presence of Salmonella, then a tracing investigation is to be executed. The result of the tracing investigation will be passed on to Belplume vzw, which will be responsible for the processing and analysis of these data with a view to a further optimization of the zoonosis approach;
  • moreover, hatcheries and slaughterhouses are obliged to provide an extensive system and process monitoring with regard to the Salmonella status.

Both the required samples and the frequency of the afore-mentioned inspections are described in detail in the various procedures manual volumes. All inspections relate to laboratorium analyses in order to verify the absence of Salmonella. If required, an additional serotyping is performed on these analyses.The above-mentioned measures concerning Salmonella monitoring and prevention aim to increase the entire production chain’s awareness with regard to this issue. In addition, this will further contribute to a solid basis for any Salmonella control strategy of the government.3. Guarantees of supplying and service companies

Not only the production farms, but all suppliers as well are to follow well-defined, generally accepted quality standards. In practice, this means that the Belplume procedures manual refers to the following complementary systems:
FCA – “Feed Chain Alliance”: 
Poultry feed can only be procured from supplying companies that received a certificate within the framework of the GMP regulations.

GVP – “Good Veterinary Practices”: 
company veterinaries are to be certified according to the guiding principles for “Good Veterinary Practices” or an equivalent arrangement.

GSP – “Good Service Practices”: 
if an appeal is made to third parties that provide certain services professionally, such as the vaccination of poultry, catching and loading the animals, disinfection and cleaning of hen-houses and vermin control, then only companies/company units which received a certificate within the framework of the GSP poultry regulations will be considered.
4. Traceability

The procedures manual includes the conditions with regard to the preservation and exchange of data which provide an insight into the historic evolution and the status of each poultry lot. This is meant to obtain transparency throughout the chain on the one hand and the flow of all relevant food chain information on the other hand.
In addition, a unique tracing system is provided throughout the entire production chain for broiler: in other words, from the very first step of one-day peepers/mother animals up to the broiler ready for slaughtering. 
This concept is based on a combination of the identification of the company and a unique identification of a poultry lot by means of a so-called unique lot number on the other hand. The assignment of the unique lot number and the careful preservation of the associated historic evolution of chain information is performed by a limited number of appropriately accredited satellites. Independent control has also been integrated in the operation of the satellites.
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