columnBy Daniel Kavishe
Producers in the red meat industry have to brace themselves for the upcoming European Union audit scheduled for 19 February to 01 March this year. The audit is meant to evaluate the animal health control system within Namibia with special emphasis on controls of foot and mouth disease. According to the European Union, the objectives of the audit will be to evaluate the effectiveness of animal health control, specifically assessing the export of fresh meat and game trophies to the European Union.
Meatco, which acts as an intermediary for many producers of red meat has urged farmers to take note of the new residency rule that came into effect on 04 February. Mario Poolman, Producer Communications Officer at Meatco, helps explain the initial benchmark. He told the Economist that the 90/40 day compliance stipulates that cattle should reside south of the red line for a minimum of 90 days. Within those 90 days the cattle should be kept at one homestead (Kraal) for a minimum of 40 days. Once these conditions are met, the cattle are considered EU complaint and can therefore be slaughtered and exported.
According to a recent circular from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, the EU has intensified their standards with a new 40 day residency rule. The directive states during the 40 day incubation, if EU-approved cattle comes in contact with non-EU-approved cattle the EU cattle immediately lose their approved status. The EU audit will therefore asses whether these requirements are met within a certain framework.
The EU audit team framework will firstly review the surveillance and control system in place for foot-and-mouth disease and brucellosis, with a particular focus on the measures taken following the recommendations of the food and veterinary office of the European Commission. The audit team will also review the system for the control and recording of animal movement as required for international certification. The team will review the controls in place over the production, traceability and treatment of game trophies destined for export to the EU, and the certification system for these commodities. Lastly the audit will also cover a review of the current surveillance system for swine disease. This has special relevance for exports to the EU of untreated game trophies or other preparation of wild hogs.