FSA drops opposition to appeal
On 30th June 2022, the FSA withdrew its opposition to an appeal against a decision made by an Official Veterinarian acting on behalf of the FSA.
The hearing related to an appeal against a decision that the OV was alleged to have made, that had affected staff working for a member of the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS).
The barrister representing the Food Standards Agency (FSA) informed the tribunal that an FSA official veterinarian (OV) had not been telling the truth whilst giving evidence at that hearing.
Under cross examination by barrister Stuart Jessop, it was apparent that the OV had mislead the tribunal when giving his evidence. As a result, the FSA withdrew its opposition to the appeal.
Tony Goodger of AIMS commented: “Had the decision that the OV had made not been challenged, and accepted on its own grounds, the implications for our member, as well as all AIMS members that are impacted daily by unlawful, ill-advised, and unjust actions of officials purporting to be acting on behalf of the state, would continue to have a serious impact on hardworking individuals up and down the country.”
Peter Hewson, veterinary director of AIMS added: “This incident, which in my experience is not the first concerning the reliability of the evidence of an FSA OV, is extremely concerning. For a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons not to tell the truth in a judicial hearing should automatically result in his or her removal from the Royal College’s register.
“I would expect that the Food Standards Agency would immediately suspend the veterinarian’s approval to work as an OV and bring the incident to the attention of the Royal College. We await confirmation that the Agency has taken appropriate action.”
The Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS) is the country’s largest trade body representing all sized abattoirs and processors, cutting plants and catering butchers in the red meat, poultry and game sectors.
A spokesperson for the FSA said: “We are conducting an internal review into the outcome of this case and will implement any lessons learned.”