Official Veterinarians’ decisions to be appealed in two stages
The Food Standard Agency’s (FSA) chief executive, Jason Feeney, announced during the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS) conference a two-stage appeal system, which will be provided when slaughterhouse operators are unwilling to voluntarily surrender carcases that Official Veterinarians have declared unfit.
The procedure unveiled by Feeney was the result of several weeks of discussion between AIMS and FSA, and is expected to resolve a longstanding dispute between industry and the agency, which has so far been fought out in courts.
The first stage of the system would involve a vet of the food business operator’s (FBO) choice holding a discussion with the OV and a senior FSA vet “in the hope of reaching a consensus as to whether the carcase was fit or unfit for human consumption”.
Speaking at the AIMS conference, Feeney appeared “confident that in most cases that would resolve the dispute”.
However, in the event that agreement was not forthcoming, the FBO would have the option of going to a magistrate to challenge the OV’s decision.
AIMS is at present awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court on whether it will hear an appeal against a High Court judgement that Section 9 of the Food Safety Act, which had provided a suitable right of appeal for almost a century, could no longer be used.
Norman Bagley, head of policy at AIMS, said: “AIMS has received financial support for its legal action from numerous AIMS members and all sectors of the meat and livestock industries and is very pleased that this support has led to a satisfactory conclusion.”