Animal production

The food chain

Livestock farmers are one part of the food chain. Their role in this chain, like the rest of the chain, comes down to providing a food product that is safe for the health of consumers.

As defined by ISO 22 000, the chain is “the sequence of stages and processes taking place in the production, processing, distribution, storage and handling of food and its ingredients, from primary production to consumption.”

It is made up of:

  • crop producers,
  • feed and seed producers,
  • primary producers,
  • food processors,
  • wholesalers,
  • retailers,
  • manufacturers of fertilisers and plant protection products,
  • manufacturers of veterinary medicines,
  • manufacturers of machinery and equipment,
  • transport and storage operators,
  • manufacturers of cleaning and disinfecting products,
  • producers of packaging materials,
  • service providers,
  • consumers.

Each participant in the food chain is required to keep accurate records relating to the production process or the next stage in the ‘life’ of the food product before it reaches the consumer. Communication between its participants is also essential to ensure the control of food safety and the identification of all possible risks to it.

Breeders are obliged to fill in food chain information sheets for animals destined for slaughter, where they record all the details of the drugs administered to them, the dates of their application and the withdrawal period. A form for such information is available on the website of the Chief Veterinary Inspectorate.