Details published of FSA’s ‘major review’ of all UK meat businesses

The Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland have publishing details of a major review into the sites where meat products are processed and stored in the UK. Plans for such a review were first announced last month, but no details were available at the time.
The decision comes after probes into several meat firms found issues with dates and caused several recalls, and in the case of Russell Hume, a wholesaler to large pub and hotel chains, led to its collapse into administration.

Food Standards Scotland and Food Standards Agency said the review would involve

• Launch of comprehensive review of hygiene controls
• Review includes unannounced inspections and audit regimes

The Food Standards Agency said it would

• Work with industry to implement CCTV across cutting plants
• Increased intelligence gathering through audit data sharing pilots across industry
• Improved insight into circumstances and factors leading to non-compliances and ability to anticipate them

Jason Feeney and Geoff Ogle, Chief Executives of the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland respectively, jointly commented:

“We are concerned about recent instances of companies breaching hygiene rules. People rightly expect food businesses to keep to the rules, rules designed to keep consumers safe and to sustain public trust in food – and food businesses have a duty to follow the regulations. Our review will be far reaching and thorough and we will announce our initial findings in June.”

“We are pleased that the meat industry representatives who we met with have pledged their full and effective engagement with the review.”

The review being launched today will aim to:

• Increase public and stakeholder confidence in the meat industry and its regulation
• Improve the ability to identify non-compliance and take prompt action to minimise the risk to public health and food safety
• Assess how the industry currently operates across the whole supply chain.
• Increase awareness of circumstances and factors which can lead to non-compliance

The scope of the review will incorporate:

• All types of cutting plants (red meat, white meat and game)
• How the current legislation works and the guidance supporting it
• How the ‘official controls’ are carried out which must be followed to ensure compliance with hygiene legislative requirements (this includes audits, inspections, sampling and surveillance)
• The roles and responsibilities of food businesses, regulators and assurance bodies
• How incidents are managed and responded to

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