FSA highlights changes to chilled poultry stock

Posted: 29 November 2022 | | No comments yet

The FSA has advised consumers in England and Wales that some chilled poultry products will have been previously frozen and defrosted to maintain Christmas stock levels.

woman holding turkey

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has advised consumers who are buying turkey, duck, capon or goose products that they may have been previously frozen and defrosted before being placed on sale as chilled in the run up to Christmas.

The FSA has issued its advice following the recent Government order that “all birds must be housed” to prevent the spread of avian influenza  (made by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Welsh Government). 

The temporary change only applies products on sale from 28 November to 31 December 2022 in England and Wales. The FSA has stated that it does not apply to chicken.  

Products affected by the temporary change should be clearly labelled as ‘defrosted’. This means that they are suitable for home freezing if it says so on the label.

Commenting on the advice given by the FSA, Narriman Looch, Head of Foodborne Disease Control at the FSA, said: “This is different to our usual advice of not refreezing raw meat thawed at home as the food industry has specialist equipment to very quickly freeze, then defrost these products in controlled conditions.

“Home freezers are less efficient so defrosting and refreezing raw meat at home could allow the growth of harmful germs.”  

Labelling this measure as an “active step to ensure that customers are able to enjoy turkey during the festive season,” Andrea Martinez-Inchausti, Deputy Director for Food at the BRC, stated: “By killing birds a bit earlier and freezing them, these products can be defrosted and sold in the run up to Christmas without worries about the impact of avian flu on supply.”

For the FSA’s food hygiene advice relating to poultry products, click here.

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