Post Mortem Inspection and Disposition (Amendments to AS4696)

Posted by AMPC Blogger on Aug 18, 2020

Currently state jurisdictions and the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) are working through the publishing process for the new standard, with an outcome expected soon.

The Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production and Transportation of Meat and Meat Products for Human Consumption (AS4696) was last updated in 2007. Since then there has been research conducted in the area of post mortem inspection that has led to recommendations for inspection that needs to be reflected in the standard.

The work will leverage the PMT project - Review of the Post Mortem Inspection and Disposition Schedules of the Australian Standard 4696 (MLA code V.RBP.0020 to change the procedures in Schedule 2 (inspection procedures) to:

Schedule 2:

  • Remove the requirement for palpation of spleens, to observation of sheep and goats
  • Move the requirement for incision of beef cheeks and hearts due to C.Bovis to the utilisation of a risk based approach
  • Alternate palpation of carcass lymph nodes in sheep and goats (4 pairs of lymph nodes rather than 7)
  • Enucleated kidneys and observe, when kidneys required for human consumption (pigs, sheep and goats)
  • Visual inspection of pigs only (no node palpation as a routine)
  • Observe pig kidneys (no palpation)
  • Amend Note 1 on Tables 1 and 2 and Notes 2 and 3 on Table 3 in Schedule 2 concerning Tuberculosis. 

Schedule 3:

  • Clarification of acute (systemic) versus chronic (localised or resolving) for Swine Erysipelas, Pneumonia (cattle, sheep, goat), Arthritis (cattle, sheep and goats, pigs), Pleurisy (sheep and goats)
  • Improved understanding of when melanomas in pigs are benign.

As of July 1 2019, domestic abattoirs have been given alternate procedures, in order to allow for these new changes in inspection and disposition. Export abattoirs must have an agreed equivalence case with export partners (i.e. EU and US, etc.) for those establishments to move to the new schedules. Changes to the AS4696 were seen as a good precursor to the equivalence cases being developed by the DAWE.

If you would like further detail on this project please contact Matt O’Bryan, Senior Program Manager Research & Development at


Topics: AMPC Updates, AMPC, meat science, Project