In the guide

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 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs requires slaughterhouse operators to request FCI declarations to ensure animals entering the food chain are safe for human consumption. Slaughterhouse operators are required to 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 on the FCI declaration will include individual and/or batch animal identification, veterinary medicines withdrawal periods, and the disease status of the animals going for slaughter.

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.

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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.

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ARAMS-1: sheep & goat animal movement document & 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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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 a FCI declaration.

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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 & penalties'.

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Key legislation

EU Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs

EU Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 laying down hygiene requirements for the production of food of animal origin

Sheep and Goats (Records, Identification and Movement) (England) Order 2009

Pigs (Records, Identification and Movement) Order 2011

Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013

 

Last reviewed / updated: August 2018

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 UK legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab; amendments to EU legislation are usually incorporated into the text.

Feedback

Consumer enquiries from England, Scotland and Wales are handled by the Citizens Advice Consumer Service who can be contacted by telephone on 03454 04 05 06. Consumer enquiries in Northern Ireland are handled by ConsumerLine who can be contacted by telephone on 0300 1236262. Call charges may vary.

Business enquiries are dealt with by your local council. Use the Chartered Trading Standards Institute's postcode finder to locate your local trading standards team.