In a scientific opinion, published recently by the authority, it said traditional inspection did not fully address the “most relevant biological hazards to public health”.
The report proposes modernisation of the system, taking on board risk-based intervention, along with improving the amount of shared information between farms and abattoirs to ensure inspection is more effective.
The EFSA opinion has been welcomed by the British Poultry Council (BPC), which said it was “pleased to see more biological risk-based principles reflected”.
Peter Bradnock, chief executive of the BPC, said: “We have long reasoned that the traditional visual inspection procedures enshrined in EU legislation for all species are inappropriate in the modern poultry industry. The approach needs to be modernised into the kind of integrated food safety assurance system focusing on biological risk which is being recommended in this opinion.
“This is a positive and sensible move towards enhancing the system of food safety controls applied to poultry meat in the EU.”
He added that the recommendations would place greater responsibility on food business operators to ensure “proper and reliable” food safety systems are in place across the production and processing chain.
However, he said: “This is largely the case already, with poultry companies conducting their own process hygiene testing, in addition to the official microbiological testing under existing regulations and separate from the current visual inspection procedures.”