The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has sought to reassure consumers that the meat they eat is safe, despite recent media reports focusing on “contaminated meat” entering the food chain.
Stating that such reports “do not give the complete picture” of how the food chain actually works, FSA has reported that its Meat Hygiene Inspectors and Official Veterinarians inspect every red meat and poultry carcase for visible contamination and that 99.57% of them pass the test.
FSA then added that the remaining 0.43% is rejected and passed back to the food business, backed by action to rectify any problems that are found.
“This is the work that our staff do day in, day out, 365 days a year,” said FSA. “If it doesn’t pass, then it does not get a health mark and it does not enter the human food chain.
“Hygiene failures are not tolerated by the FSA, and we take robust enforcement action to ensure food businesses improve their procedures to prevent meat becoming contaminated in the first place.
“Ultimately if standards are not improving or the risk to public health is high enough, we take enforcement action up to and including taking away a premises’ approval to operate.”
The agency also said it has no plans to do away with real time meat inspection as it remains a crucial and integral part of the way in which it effectively administers the legal system of controls to assure the public that meat production complies with hygiene and animal welfare controls.
“We remain committed to exploring ways in which we can administer the system of controls in the most effective manner while maintaining the highest standards of hygiene and welfare,” said FSA, adding that any changes will only be made through collaboration and consultation with those affected.
“Ensuring that food is safe will always be at the heart of everything we do.”