homeThursday 21st March 2019

FSA meat store review sketchy on details

Katie Coyne08/03/2018 - 12:03

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Plans for CCTV in cutting plants
Plans for CCTV in cutting plants

A review into cutting plants and cold stores following recent meat hygiene investigations at 2Sisters and Russell Hume has been launched by the FSA and FSS.

The FSA has said it will be a ‘comprehensive review of hygiene controls’ and will include unannounced inspections and audit regimes.

It announced its intention to work with industry to implement CCTV across cutting plants.

Plans to increase ‘intelligence gathering’ though ‘audit data sharing pilots’ and improved insight into circumstances leading to non-compliances were also promised.

However, while the effort to examine and improve cold meat storage systems has been welcomed, CIEH head of policy Tony Lewis says the details around how all this will be achieved are sketchy.

Mr Lewis said he believed that the succession of recent FSA investigations and meat withdrawals warranted an independent review.

He added that there was too little detail to be able to comment on the effectiveness of the review proposed.

He said: ‘In relation to the issues under investigation since January the FSA press releases have lacked clarity and this is no different.’

Mr Lewis said it’s not yet clear who will conduct the review, or what the timescales are, or whether organisations such as the CIEH will be able to contribute.

The FSA seemed to be undertaking a similar review, when the Russell Hume story broke and Mr Lewis said it was not yet clear whether any work already carried out for the review will feed into this new undertaking.

The review’s terms of reference document said that both Brexit and the scientific evidence underpinning delivery of controls are out of scope.

As the review was officially launched at the start of the month Jason Feeney and Geoff Ogle, Chief Executives of the FSA and FSS 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.’

All six of meat supplier Russell Hume’s processing sites across England, Scotland and Wales were closed at the end of January over concerns around food safety procedures and fears that use by dates had been extended.

Although its Liverpool site was reopened, the firm went into administration at the end of February.  



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