AIMS expresses disappointment as FSA wins judicial review

AIMS expresses disappointment as FSA wins judicial review

The Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS) has expressed its disappointment at the decision of the judge in the Judicial Review brought against the FSA by AIMS and Cleveland Meat Company Limited, a slaughterhouse operator based in Stockton on Tees.

The two organisations had gone to court in attempt to overturn a ruling by an FSA veterinary contractor that a beef carcase was unfit to enter the food chain.

AIMS says it believes a legal challenge was and still is necessary. It claims the proceedings may well have been avoided if the FSA had agreed to a request for an independent expert to examine the carcase, which it refused point blank.

The FSA appear to misunderstand the purpose of the challenge, again according to AIMS. In its statement the Association said: “It was not ‘an attempt to overturn a ruling by an FSA contractor’ but to contest the FSA’s decision that operators have no right to challenge official veterinarian’s decisions to declare meat unfit.

“It is AIMS’ position that where an FBO will not agree to the voluntary surrender of a carcase and/or other meat, the OV must seize the meat and take it before the Magistrates’ Court so that a Justice of the Peace may determine whether or not it ought to be condemned. This is set out in section 9 of the Food Safety Act 1990. This is a view shared by the FSA, save for they argue that section 9 only applies where the meat in question has been healthmarked. We believe that it is a fundamental right of all FBOs to challenge an OV’s decision to declare all meat unfit, whether the meat has been healthmarked or not, and this is certainly a right that food business operators enjoy in other member states.”

AIMS will be seeking leave to appeal the judgment.

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