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Incoming livestock and slaughter process assessment tool for beef and sheep


The Incoming livestock and slaughter process assessment tool for beef and sheep are interactive tools which are designed to assist processing establishments to assess how their livestock and processing practices may be affecting the microbiological contamination of carcases.

The assessment tools are the result of scientific studies in this area run by MLA over the past years. The assessment tool includes:

  • a scientific report which outlines the studies that have been conducted to provide the basis for this tool
  • a ‘how to' guide for using the assessment tool, including information about what the different questions mean and how they may affect the process
  • the assessment tool itself - the assessment tool has a list of questions about the state of the animals as they come in to the plant and the processing methods used during the process  

These tools are not intended to provide a conclusive ‘score' through which you will be ranked in some way. They are to be used to gain information on the livestock entering the plant, and how you process them, may impact on the hygiene of the final product.

The results are an indication only, and are intended to assist you in thinking about how factors may affect your end product, not to provide a final score with which you will be ‘rated' or can judged against. As such, there is no ranking provided as an outcome of the process. You will receive a final score and you should use the supporting information to consider what this score means to you in your particular situation.


The assessment tools are easy to use and can help processing establishments to:

  • improve understanding of how the condition of incoming livestock can affect the hygiene of carcases and end products
  • improve understanding of how the processing systems used can affect the hygiene of carcases and end products
  • identify aspects of an establishments current processes that may be having a negative impact on the hygiene/microbial quality of their finished product
  • identify where and how improvements may be made


The Incoming livestock process assessment tools for beef and sheep are available, download the file below.

Download the process assessment tool for beef and sheep, this file is a 23.5MB ZIP file.

To understand the tools and use them to your best advantage, you will need to read the information in the supporting material for the beef and sheep tools. This supporting material is also included in the downloadable process assessment tool or can be downloaded separately below:

More information

During sheep processing, contamination can be affected by a number of variables, including, the length of wool, crutching and whether fleeces are dry or wet.

During the processing of cattle, contamination can be affected by the length of the journey to the processing establishment, cleanness of hides and length of time the animal has been at a feedlot or not, amongst other factors.

Following slaughter there are a number of processing techniques that can affect carcase hygiene, including whether a two knife system is used, direction the hide or fleece is removed and carcase washing technique. These factors, and others, can all impact on the overall hygiene of a carcase.

The assessment tools ask questions about these factors and others, and make an assessment of where contamination may be occurring. Processing establishments may then use this information to manage or improve their process.