Industry addresses Food Standards Agency hygiene non-compliance concerns

Industry addresses Food Standards Agency hygiene non-compliance concerns

Representatives of the meat industry attended a meeting with The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) to discuss concerns arising from recent cases of non-compliance with food hygiene regulations.

In a joint statement following the meeting on 20th February, the parties agreed to the need for “close collaboration and co-operation between regulators and industry in responding to the issues raised by recent events”.

A handful of meat manufacturers/suppliers have recalled products recently due to hygiene concerns identified by FSA.

These “recent events” include Russell Hume going into administration following an investigation by FSA, Fairfax Meadow recalling products following an FSA inspection, and MuscleFood recalling some products following an FSA inspection of its supplier DB Foods.

Industry representatives in attendance at the meeting included the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers, the British Meat Processors Association, the British Poultry Council, the Farmers’ Union of Wales, the International Meat Trade Association, Hampshire Game, the National Association of Catering Butchers, the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders, the Northern Ireland Meat Exporters Association and the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers.

Both industry and regulators recognised that some concerns have been uncovered by recent regulatory inspections, but highlighted that in most cases, businesses involved have taken actions to demonstrate compliance and continue to trade normally.

“Where those concerns were serious enforcement procedures have been put in place,” the statement noted.

“As regulators and industry bodies we have a shared interest in making sure that consumer trust in the UK meat industry remains high.

“The food chain depends on trust and we want people to be confident that the meat they enjoy has been produced to the highest standards.”

It concluded that regulators will continue to work together to support meat businesses in “fully understanding what is expected of them in relation to current regulations and ensuring full and effective industry engagement with the forthcoming FSA/FSS review of cutting plants and cold stores”.

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