Food chain information (FCI)

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If you take animals to an abattoir you must supply food chain information (FCI) before the animals can be accepted for slaughter

This guidance is for England

The food chain information (FCI) declaration is a document that is required to accompany cattle, calves, pigs, poultry, horses, sheep, goats and farmed game to slaughter at an abattoir for entry into the food chain.

EU Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 laying down hygiene requirements for the production of food of animal origin requires slaughterhouse operators to request FCI declarations to ensure animals entering the food chain are safe for human consumption. Slaughterhouse operators must request, receive, check and act upon any information recorded on the FCI declaration as part of their HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) plan. This helps to ensure that certain veterinary medicines or animals affected by disease do not enter the food chain.

Declarations from all previous keepers must be obtained if you have bought animals at market for onward consignment to a slaughterhouse.

Contents of food chain information

Information that must be confirmed on the FCI declaration includes:

  • health status of the farm. That the holding is not under any movement restrictions for animal disease or public health reasons
  • withdrawal periods have been observed. That there are no known veterinary medicine residues in the meat
  • the animal's health status. That the animal to be slaughtered has not been exposed and does not show any signs of disease that may affect the safety of the meat

The Food Standards Agency has created and published FCI model documents as part of chapter 11 of the Meat Industry Guide; see:

  • annex 2 for cattle
  • annex 3 for pigs
  • annex 4 for sheep and goats
  • annex 5 for poultry
    • annex 8 if slaughtered on-farm
  • annex 6 for equines (horses, ponies and donkeys)
  • annex 7 for farmed game slaughtered on-farm
    • annex 11 if slaughtered in a plant
  • annex 12 for farmed game animals susceptible to bovine TB
  • annex 9 for emergency slaughter animals

Additional information will be required on the FCI declaration for those animals showing signs of disease, abnormality or conditions that may affect the safety of meat derived from them. This information is also contained within the model document.

Format of food chain information

There is no set format for how FCI declarations are to be received. Some slaughterhouses may have their own forms or use the model documents created by the Food Standards Agency. It is suggested you contact your slaughterhouse operator prior to taking any animals to slaughter so you can establish which FCI format to use.

ARAMS-1: sheep and goat animal movement document and electronic movement licensing

In the case of sheep and goats, the FCI declaration and additional information has been incorporated into the animal movement licence (ARAMS-1) form. Use of the ARAMS-1 form, either in paper or electronic format, is one means of providing FCI for sheep and goats but other methods may be used that best suit slaughterhouse operators' business needs.

It is the responsibility of slaughterhouse operators to inform their suppliers about the exact FCI declarations they require and of the format in which they wish to receive them.

eAML2: electronic movement licensing

The eAML2 is the electronic version of the pig movement licence (AML2) and has replaced the AML2 paper form. It combines the AML2 and FCI paper forms that are required when moving pigs to slaughter.

When do I need to submit the food chain information?

FCI declarations can accompany your animals to slaughter. They may also be submitted to the slaughterhouse 24 hours in advance. This may be helpful for the slaughterhouse in identifying anything contained within the FCI declaration that may affect the normal operation of the business.

The FCI must be made available to the official veterinarian (OV) by the food business operator without delay, and the OV must be made aware of anything that gives rise to health concerns. Slaughter of the animals or dressing of the meat may not take place until it has been permitted by the OV.

If animals arrive at the slaughterhouse without an FCI declaration, the OV must be notified. The OV will decide whether slaughter may or may not take place without an FCI declaration. Carcases of animals slaughtered without an FCI declaration will not be approved for human consumption until the FCI declaration is received.

Animals sent to slaughter from markets

If you buy animals at market for onward consignment to a slaughterhouse, FCI declarations must be obtained from all previous keepers to ensure the conditions on the FCI declaration form submitted to the slaughterhouse operator can be met.

These declarations should have been collected by the market and may be stated on its paperwork. If in doubt then please check with the market.

Similarly, if you send animals to a market and there is a likelihood they will go for slaughter you must supply an FCI declaration.

Horse passports

Horse passports must also be provided and checked by the slaughterhouse operator before slaughter to ensure the animal is intended for slaughter for human consumption. If acceptable, the passport must also be given to the OV to check. See also 'Horse passports'.

Penalties

Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment. For more information please see 'Trading standards: powers, enforcement and penalties'.

Key legislation

Last reviewed / updated: March 2020

In this update

General detail added

Please note

This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.

The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab.

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