The abattoir industry is responsible for the conversion of livestock to meat. The Meat Safety Act, 2000 (Act no. 40 of 2000) addresses measures to promote the safety of meat and animal products and to establish and maintain essential national standards to which abattoirs must abide. Abattoir hygiene is also strictly regulated and monitored in South Africa.
Apply for a licence
“If you are planning to build an abattoir you should apply to the Department of Agriculture for a licence to convert livestock to meat to be sold as a product suitable for human consumption”, says Dr. Gerhard Neethling, director of the Red Meat Abattoir Association.
The Red Meat Abattoir Association (RMAA)
The RMAA is a representative forum for abattoir owners in South Africa and works hard to apply measures to maintain high standards in respect of abattoirs. They’re a good source information and will be able to guide you with regard to regulations depending on your business plan.
Abattoirs are graded, A, B, C, D or E under the Abattoir Hygiene Act of South Africa in order to encourage the safety of the products that they produce.
Training is important
Training is essential and courses are available in South Africa. The training of staff is addressed in the R918 ‘Regulations Governing General Hygiene Requirements for Food Premises and the Transport of Food’ of the Health Act, 1977, as well as in the Occupational Health and Safety Act. It’s wise to have qualifications to start an abattoir of any kind. These include:
- General Abattoir Processes (NQF2)
- Abattoir Slaughtering Processes (NQF2)
- Abattoir Supervision (NQF3)
- Meat Examination (NQF4)
- Meat Classification (NQF4)