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Morocco’s Ministry of Agriculture Imposes Regulations on Chicken Slaughter

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PERSISMA, Rabat – The Moroccan Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Agriculture have imposed new regulations on small-scale chicken slaughter shops, or “riachats,” as well as on the commercial transport of chickens.

The aim is to promote better hygiene practices and therefore prevent large scale food poisoning.

According to the two Ministries, small-scale live chicken sale shops sometimes supply restaurants, yet have no sanitary control. The “riachats” as they are called in Moroccan dialect, may expose buyers to mass food poisoning and threaten public health.

Moroccans consume on average 20.4 kg of chicken meat per year. According to the Interprofessional Federation of the Aviary Sector (FISA), in 2018 only 12.4% of the chicken meat consumed came from certified abattoirs. The rest, 87.6% came from unregulated slaughtering in homes or riachats.

Hygiene Regulations for Slaughter

As of 3 May, riachats will now have to meet strict restrictions, and must fall into one of two meat supply categories.

Either they exclusively supply chickens for household consumption, in which case they are allowed to slaughter. They are not permitted to supply restaurants, butchers, or other commercial points of sale.

Alternatively, they can supply chicken meat commercially, including to restaurants and butchers, but they are not allowed to slaughter. They can only supply chicken meat that has been slaughtered at an authorised abattoir.

Furthermore, any new riachat will need to be approved by a local hygiene committee.

The regulations do not mention whether or not the sanitary conditions of existing riachats will be reviewed.

Transport

The regulations also impose new strict requirements on chicken transport. Any live chicken transported for commercial purposes must have a document confirming traceability. Any chicken without this type of document will be “seized and destroyed.”

The regulations will put into place a ban on the transport of chickens in wooden crates. Cages and boxes must be made of cleanable and disinfectable material.

It remains to be seen how the new regulations will be enforced. The Ministries have not commented on this detail, or on how quickly riachats will have to tighten up their game. (Margot Eliason)

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