Draft review of UK meat processing identifies improvements
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) have published a draft review looking at meat processing, outlining a series of recommendations for both the regulators themselves and industry.
The six-month review was launched in the wake of a number of various non-compliance issues identified at some cutting plants.
The review took a look at how current arrangements and regulations could work better and focused on tackling the root causes of common issues, and not just the symptoms.
The recommendations, which are subject to the approval of each organisation’s Board at a meeting in Edinburgh on 17th October, are designed to prioritise food safety and improve overall industry standards in the meat supply chain.
A few of the 19 recommendations for industry and regulators include greater involvement of industry to produce clearer guidance to meet the needs of food businesses and increased focus on skills and capabilities across industry.
Other recommendations include greater data transparency and sharing across industry and with the regulators, and more effective use of data by regulatory authorities and improved regulatory coordination and consistency.
Jason Feeney, chief executive of FSS, said: “We launched this review following a series of high profile events over the last 12 months at a number of meat businesses.
“These incidents cast a shadow over the whole sector and not just the businesses directly at fault. This challenged consumer confidence and trust in the industry as a whole.
“This in-depth review has identified actions that the meat industry and the regulatory authorities can take to make improvements.
“There are good reasons why the meat industry has specific controls in place to protect public health and provide assurance about the authenticity of meat products on the market.
“We are pleased the industry participated so fully in this approach and we expect them to continue to work with us to deliver the recommendations once they have been agreed.”
Geoff Ogle, chief executive of FSS, added: “This review is essential for ensuring the public continues to have full confidence in the safety of the UK’s meat industry.
“The majority of our meat sector acts responsibly ensuring food safety compliance across their process, and it is important that the actions of a minority do not damage the reputation of the whole sector.
“That’s why we and the Food Standards Agency have looked at a comprehensive evidence base and have made wide-ranging recommendations for improvement for both industry and regulators that will ensure the high standards and safety we expect in our meat industry.
“We all have a part to play in ensuring the safety of our meat and meat products.”
The review and the recommendations are subject to decisions made by the respective Boards on 17th October 2018, and the current paper can be accessed at: https://www.food.gov.uk/about-us/meat-cutting-plant-and-cold-store-review