According to the legislation applicable throughout Europe, in particular Regulations (EC) No. 853/2004 and (EU) 2017/625 and Regulations (EU) 2019/627 and (EU) 2019/624 based thereon, farm animals must be officially inspected before and after slaughter (ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection) if their meat is intended for human consumption. The examination is carried out by an official veterinarian or, under his supervision or responsibility, also by an official expert assistant. The examination is used to determine whether the meat is fit for human consumption.
During the ante-mortem inspection, the official veterinarian determines whether the animal shows signs of disease, injuries or other abnormalities. If this is not the case, the animal is fit for slaughter. This ante-mortem inspection must be performed at the slaughterhouse within 24 hours prior to slaughter. If slaughter is delayed beyond 24 hours, the ante-mortem inspection must be repeated. Other deadlines may apply for ante-mortem inspection performed at the animal's place of origin.
Ante-mortem inspection includes inspection of the carcass and internal organs of the slaughtered animal. It is therefore necessary that all organs remain with the carcass until inspection and that no cutting or processing of the meat beyond splitting has yet taken place. Where necessary, laboratory tests are also arranged. If both the ante-mortem and post-mortem examinations reveal no abnormalities, the meat is deemed fit for human consumption and thus released for human consumption.
A meat inspection and, if necessary, an ante-mortem inspection must also be carried out in the case of home slaughtering.
Ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection is part of a comprehensive inspection system. Controls take place
- before and after slaughter (ante- and post-mortem inspection)
- as regular hygiene monitoring in slaughterhouses, meat cutting plants and meat processing plants
- as ad hoc inspections in the event of suspected irregularities or as follow-up inspections in the event of complaints.
If deficiencies are found during the inspections, the competent authority ensures that they are rectified and, if necessary, initiates administrative offence proceedings or passes the case on to the public prosecutor's office. In addition to the regular routine inspections, the competent authorities take immediate action - unscheduled - in the event of reported complaints.
Information on registration for ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection as well as further information can be obtained from your district office or - in the case of independent cities - from your city administration.