Public Abattoir Terms and Conditions

1. GENERAL

The Public Abattoir offers services related to the: 

slaughter of bovines, swine, equines and small ruminants in Malta. 
cutting and deboning of carcasses slaughtered at the Public Abattoir


2. DEFINITIONS

In these Conditions, unless the context otherwise requires: 

Public Abattoir: means the Public Abattoir Operations department within the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights, its successors and assigns, together with its employees, agents and contractors. 

Slaughter: refers to the process of killing livestock animals for food, and the dressing and presentation of the carcasses prior to placement on the market. 

Halal Slaughter: means the slaughtering of livestock by a trained Muslim butcher in line with European and national hygiene and animal welfare regulations. 

Carcase: refers to the dead body of a slaughtered head of livestock 

Meat: refers to all articles of food or other goods derived from such carcasses.

Animal by-Products (ABP) means entire bodies or parts of animals, products of animal origin or other products obtained from animals, which are not intended for human consumption.

Force majeure: shall refer to any unforeseeable circumstances, and shall include the interruption of power, or water supply, and any unforeseen damage to any equipment. 

Livestock owner: means the owner of a head of livestock as registered on the national livestock database.

Carcass Owner: means the owner of the carcass. Such a person may be different from the livestock owner if the head was sold at slaughter. In line with EU regulation 2017/1182, such as sale is understood to have occurred, and the relevant price agreed/paid at the slaughterhouse gate.


3. SLAUGHTERING SCHEDULE

The Slaughtering Schedule shall be established from time to time by the Senior Management of the Public Abattoir and communicated on the Public Abattoir’s website.

The Slaughtering schedule is subject to change without prior notice. Without prejudice, the Public Abattoir shall strive to inform the public of any changes to the schedule of any given week by Friday of the preceding week.
 
As a rule, slaughter shall commence at 6am and proceed till the slaughter of all animals booked for slaughter on the given day. Without prejudice, the Public Abattoir may commence slaughtering later, interrupt or cancel the day’s slaughtering schedule without prior notice, due to force majeure or otherwise.

The Public Abattoir shall not be held liable for any losses incurred due to the changes in the slaughtering schedule, late commencement of slaughter, or interruption of the day’s slaughter irrespective of when such changes were enacted.


4. BOOKING AND RECEIPT OF CARCASSES

Any person interested in slaughtering livestock at the Public Abattoir shall book such slaughter at the Booking Office in person, online, or by availing oneself of the services of a registered Cooperative or similar association of producers. Third parties not authorised in writing, through a legally certified document, to represent the livestock owner, cannot book a carcass for slaughter. The booking shall be made by noon of the day prior to the slaughter as per latest slaughtering schedule. 

Requirement for Halal slaughter shall also be indicated at booking stage.

At booking stage, the livestock owner shall indicate whether a third party shall be the carcass owner or otherwise. The livestock owner shall also indicate any person designated to represent him/her at dispatch.

Booking for the slaughter of any head of livestock shall only be approved if the details provided at booking stage match the details on the national livestock database.

It shall be the responsibility of the livestock owner to transport any livestock booked for slaughter to the Public Abattoir, as well as for ensuring that such transport is carried out in line with applicable Animal Welfare standards and regulations, including that the truck is appropriately approved for such transport in line with applicable regulations. Amongst others, this shall imply that the livestock owner shall ensure that the truck carrying any livestock is not precluded from accessing the Public Abattoir (whether for administrative or regulatory reasons or otherwise), that it is suitable for the conveyance of livestock, that animals can enter onto the truck and exit it with ease, that its height is such that it may transfer the animals onto the lairage platform within the Public Abattoir with ease and without causing the animals to jump or climb.  The Public Abattoir reserves the right not to accept the entry to any truck which is not duly approved, or which is otherwise not suitable for the transportation of animals, including the ease of transferring such animals onto the lairages platform.

The livestock owner shall ensure that all animals taken to the abattoir for slaughter are accompanied by a confirmation of their booking as well as the relevant food chain information. Such documentation shall be shown to the Security Officials at the entrance gate. Animals not booked and/or not accompanied by the food chain information shall not be allowed to enter the Public Abattoir. If documentation is correct, after entry, such documentation is to be handed to officials of the Public Abattoir within the lairage. 

Without prejudice to animal welfare standards, the livestock owner shall ensure that livestock heads are not fed prior to being brought to slaughter. As a rule, heads of livestock should not be fed for twelve (12) hours prior to slaughter. The Public Abattoir shall not be held responsible for any loss suffered by the Livestock owner due to the contamination of the carcass resulting from the rupture of intestines during the dressing process.

The Livestock Owner shall be responsible to ensure that any head of livestock brought into the Public Abattoir is reasonably clean. A Public Slaughterhouse official will be in charge of inspecting the animals brought for slaughter as they enter the slaughterhouse, just before the vehicle being transported on it exceeds the wheelchair washing facility. Trucks carrying livestock with excessive dirt and patches of dry dirt, will not be allowed to enter the Slaughterhouse. Livestock that is allowed Entry into the Public Abattoir but is considered to be dirty (though not with excessive dirt) and therefore still, potentially at risk for meat contamination on the Slaughterhouse should be locked in a separate pen and kept there until the end of slaughter. of the day.

Without prejudice such animals shall be slaughtered at the end of the day’s slaughtering schedule in the sequence as indicated by the Official Veterinarian and/or Slaughterline Coordinator. 

The Livestock Owner or designated representative shall be responsible for taking own livestock into the pen indicated by the Public abattoir officials manning the lairage, and eventually into the slaughtering area.

Prior to slaughter, any livestock head brought into the precincts of the Public Abattoir shall be inspected by an Official Veterinarian to ascertain suitability of slaughtering that head for human consumption. It shall be the sole discretion of the Official veterinarian to declare whether a head of livestock is thus suitable or whether it should be condemned. Heads of livestock condemned by the Official Veterinarian during such ante-mortem inspection shall be slaughtered by Abattoir officials, and the carcass disposed of for incineration at the Waste Thermal Treatment Facility [TTF] as ABP Category 1 material. Costs relative to such disposal and incineration shall be borne by the Livestock Owner. The Public Abattoir shall not be held liable for any decision taken by the Official Veterinarian, or any costs / loss incurred by the livestock owner or any third party due to such decisions. 

Any truck transporting animals into the abattoir shall be thoroughly washed in the truck-washing shed within the Public Abattoir prior to departure from the Abattoir precincts. Such washing shall include the washing of the livestock carrying box as well as the exterior of the truck. The Public Abattoir reserves the right to suspend entry into the Public Abattoir to any truck, or owner thereof, which is not thus washed. 


5. SLAUGHTER PROCESS

The Public Abattoir shall slaughter all heads of livestock in a humane manner, after the animal is rendered unconscious and consequently not sensitive to pain. Bovines and equines are stunned using a captive bolt, Small ruminants are stunned by captive bolt or electronarcosis). Swine is stunned through asphyxiation, using Carbon Dioxide. 

The halal slaughter of bovines, caprines and ovines is also carried out after stunning. However slaughter is carried out by a trained Muslim butcher.

Carcasses shall be dressed in line with international veterinary standards and EU regulations. It includes the de-hiding (for bovines, small ruminants and equines) or de-hairing (for swine), the splitting of the carcass into two halves and the removal of the offal. Without prejudice, swine carcasses having a weight larger than 130 kgs Kgs, including but not limited to sows and boars, shall be skinned manually.

Carcasses shall be presented in line with EU regulations, specifically EU Regulation 1308/2013 as follows: 

Bovine carcases are presented without the removal of external fat, the neck being cut in accordance with veterinary requirements and without: Kidneys and kidney fat; Pelvic fat; Thin skirt; Thick skirt; Tail (Once de-hided, tail may be taken by the Carcass owner); Spinal cord; Cod fat; Fat on the inside of topside; Jugular vein and the adjacent fat. The removal of external fat mandatorily involves only the partial removal of external fat: from the haunch, the sirloin and the middle ribs; from the point end of brisket, the outer ano-genital area and the tail; and from the topside. 

Swine carcases as established by EU Regulation 1308/2013 which establishes that “carcasses shall be presented without tongue, bristles, hooves, genital organs, flare fat, kidneys and diaphragm” as well as without lungs. The same regulation recommends a standard presentation for sheep carcases as follows: “without the head (severed at the atlantooccipital joint), the feet (severed at the carpometacarpal or tarso-metatarsal joints), the tail (severed between the sixth and seventh caudal vertebrae), the udder, the genitalia, the liver and the pluck. Kidneys and kidney fat are included in the carcass”.

Carcasses shall be weighed using calibrated weighing scales after they were dressed and presented as per said regulations. Carcasses shall also be classified as per EU Regulations using manual or electronic classification methods. 

Each carcass shall be accompanied by a label issued in line with the applicable EU regulations, primarily Regulation 1308/2013, Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 and Commission Regulation (EU) No 1337/2013, and indicating amongst others country and farm of origin, Slaughter House approval number, Kill Number, livestock identification number (if applicable), weight and classification of the carcass in question, and date of slaughter.

After slaughter, carcasses and offals shall be taken to a chiller and kept chilled prior to dispatch.

The Public Abattoir shall be the sole owner of any ABPs from the slaughtering, dressing and presentation of any carcass. Without prejudice hides of bovines shall remain the property of the carcass owner. 

During slaughter, each carcass shall be inspected by an Official Veterinarian to ascertain suitability for human consumption. It shall be the sole discretion of the Official Veterinarian to declare whether a carcass or part thereof is thus suitable or whether it should be condemned. Carcasses or parts thereof condemned by the Official Veterinarian during such post-mortem inspection shall be disposed of for incineration at the Waste Thermal Treatment Facility (TTF) as ABP Category 1 material. Costs relative to such disposal and incineration shall be borne by the Livestock Owner. The Public Abattoir shall not be held liable for any decision taken by the Official Veterinarian, or any costs / loss incurred by the livestock owner or any third party due to such decisions. 


 6. CUTTING AND DEBONING

The Public Abattoir shall offer services related to the Cutting and Deboning of Carcasses as follows:
Bovines: 

Service

Category

Cutting only into prime cuts

Cows, Bulls

Part Cutting part deboning

Cows, Bulls

Carcass is deboned for trimmings

Cows, Bulls

Carcass is deboned into cuts

Bulls, heifers



Swine: The cutting and deboning of swine carcasses is carried out by KIM Ltd. and its Terms and Conditions apply.


​7. DISPATCH OF MEAT

Carcasses or parts thereof shall only be dispatched if the core temperature is less than +7°C. Offal may only be dispatched if their core temperature is less than +3°C.
Carcasses shall only be dispatched from the Public Abattoir as follows:

Whole carcasses – for smaller small ruminants
Half carcasses – for swine and small ruminants
Cut and/or deboned – for bovines, equines, swine and small ruminants,

Carcasses or parts thereof may only be dispatched onto refrigerated trucks, after ensuring that the refrigerated compartment of the relevant vehicle is maintaining a temperature suitable to maintain the cold chain of the relevant meat cuts. 

The carcass owner, or person designated in writing, shall be present at the dispatch of meat. It shall be the sole responsibility of the carcass owner to ensure that the carcass or parts thereof have the correct weight, and dispatch may proceed only after the carcass owner, or person designated in writing at booking stage to represent the carcass owner, confirms agreement with the information provided on the slaughter report and/or label, and/or other traceability document. In default of such confirmation, such carcass shall be detained, and the carcass owner shall submit a request for investigation to the Senior Management of the Public Abattoir.

Unclaimed carcasses shall be disposed of by the Public Abattoir at the discretion of the Senior Management within seven (7) calendar days from slaughter.


8. INSURANCE

The Public Abattoir does not insure livestock, carcasses or other goods of whatsoever nature or kind at any time against loss or damage from any cause whatsoever. Livestock, carcasses and other goods of whatsoever nature or kind at all times are held at the risk of the owner.


9. LEVIES AND CHARGES

The Public Abattoir shall be entitled to charge users for its services. Fees and tariffs shall be charged in accordance with the “Fees for Abattoir and Veterinary Services Regulations” (Subsidiary Legislation 35.10) and be published online for ease of reference.


10. CONDEMNED CARCASSES OR PARTS THEREOF 

The Official Veterinarian at the Public Abattoir has the sole discretion to condemn, ante mortem or post mortem, livestock or carcasses, in whole or in part.

Under no circumstances whatsoever may a livestock or carcass owner be entitled to have a condemned head of livestock or carcass returned. 

Condemned heads of livestock, carcasses or parts thereof shall be classified as Category 1 ABPs and disposed for incineration at an approved waste thermal facility (TTF). Relevant costs shall be borne by the livestock or carcass owner. 

The Public Abattoir shall be responsible for their disposal, and the Public Abattoir shall pass the relevant charges to the rightful owner.


11. LIMIT OF LIABILITY

The Public Abattoir shall not be responsible or liable to the livestock or carcass owner or to any other person whatsoever in contract, tort or otherwise for any loss, decay, deterioration in value, damage to or destruction of livestock, carcasses or part thereof or other goods of any kind whatsoever whether or not the same be attributable to the negligence or other fault of the Public Abattoir or its staff.


12. PERSONAL DATA

Pursuant to the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (Cap 586), The Public Abattoir has a legal duty to respect and protect any personal information it collects from persons entering the Abattoir and/or making use of its services and it will abide by such duty. It shall take all safeguards necessary to prevent unauthorised access and shall not pass on details collected from therefrom, to any third party unless you give data owners provide consent to do so or as authorised by law. 

Without prejudice to the above, persons entering the Public Abattoir shall be aware that CCTV cameras are installed at different locations within the Precincts of the Public Abattoir, and that the Public Abattoir collects and retains images of persons in or passing through the monitored areas. Such images are primarily retained to collect evidence and identify person/s who might have maliciously or unintentionally caused damage or harm to public or private property, to ensure animal welfare, food security and meat hygiene, the health and safety of employees and third parties within the precincts of the Public Abattoir or to collect evidence and identify of persons who have in any way whatsoever infringed Public Abattoir procedures as well as laws and regulations relevant to the Public Abattoir. Access to CCTV footage is restricted to authorised personnel only. The Data Controller shall authorise further access to footage if so required when relevant for the proceses specified above. Any Criminal activity caught on camera will be disclosed to law enforcement authorities together with the filing a Police report. Recorded footage shall be retained for a period of seven days after which the data is automatically over written by new images, or as may otherwise be required in the case of an investigation carried out by the Public Abattoir’s senior management, as may otherwise required in the context of criminal or other investigation, or as may otherwise prescribed by Maltese law.

Natural persons making use of the services of the Public Abattoir may exercise their right to access the data held about them by the Public Abattoir, and therefore if such persons have any queries in relation to this data, if any, held by the Public Abattoir they may submit a request to the data controller.

Although the Public Abattoir undertakes reasonable efforts to keep any personal information updated, service users are kindly requested to inform it of any change referring to the personal data held. In any case if such users consider that certain information is inaccurate, they may request rectification of such data, as well as, insofar authorised by law, the blocking or erasure of personal data. 

The Data Protection Officer may be contacted on: 22925910 during office hours.