Europe shares its heritage and traditions of high quality, natural, and safe poultry meat production that reflects the European focus on sustainability, chicken protection, and welfare.
The European Union is one of the world’s largest poultry meat producers and a net exporter of poultry products with annual production of around 13.4 million tons.
In Europe poultry food production processes shall meet general requirements for food premises, specific requirements in rooms where foodstuffs are prepared, treated or processed, transport and equipment requirements, food waste, water supply and personal hygiene.
Moreover, European regulations lay down rules on food additives used in foods ensuring a high level of protection of human health and a high level of consumer protection, including the protection of consumer interests and fair practices in food trade, the protection of the environment.
The EU has marketing standards for poultry; these are designed to improve the quality of the product and protect consumers. These standards lay down detailed rules that poultry products must satisfy in order to be marketed. In general, they provide for:
• sales descriptions;
• quality grading;
• limits of technically unavoidable water content in poultry meat absorbed during processing;
• definitions and labelling of various alternative methods of poultry production.
In order to indicate types of farming with the exception of organic or biological farming, no other terms except those set out hereunder and the corresponding terms may appear on the labelling within the meaning are fulfilled:
• ‘Fed with … % …’:
• ‘Extensive indoor’ (‘Barn-reared’);
• ‘Free range’;
• ‘Traditional free range’;
• ‘Free range — total freedom’.
These terms may be supplemented by indications referring to the particular characteristics of the respective types of farming.
European Union takes care of chicken welfare also. It introduces minimum requirements for protection of chickens. The owner or keeper of chicken farms shall maintain a record for each house of a holding of:
• the number of chickens introduced;
• the useable area;
• the hybrid or breed of the chickens, if known;
• by each control, the number of birds found dead with an indication of the causes, if known as well as the number of birds culled with cause;
• the number of chickens remaining in the flock following the removal of chickens for sale or for slaughter.
Those records shall be retained for a period of at least three years and shall be made available to the competent authority when carrying out an inspection or when otherwise requested.
Special regulation establishes provisions relating to maximum levels of pesticide residues in or on feed of plant origin.
• Fresh chicken meat (whole chickens, quarters, fillets, wings, feet)
• Processed chicken meat (boiled or hot smoked, other products)
Regulation on a common organisation of the markets in agricultural products with article 220 indicating measures concerning animal diseases and loss of consumer confidence due to public, animal or plant health risks