Food Law News - UK - 2000

FSA Statement (2000/01), 10 November 2000

BEEF - Food Standards Agency Statement on Imported Beef

The Food Standards Agency is actively checking developments across Europe on BSE. From next week the Agency will publish regular bulletins on current developments in France with an assessment for the consumer of any change in risk.

The Agency is also acting to improve protection for UK consumers by:

The Agency is currently reviewing the UK-wide BSE controls and has concluded that they are protecting human health. The review will also point to areas where the controls could be further tightened. The Agency will consider any new evidence and review the controls if necessary.

The Agency carries out spot checks to ensure that controls are being properly enforced and will pursue vigorously any allegations that the controls are being broken.

The current UK controls protecting human health are:

There have been no substantiated cases of imported beef over thirty months old reaching UK consumers. It is illegal and the penalties are high.

Against this background and the fact that the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) have issued no new advice, the Agency has no reason to advise against the consumption of legally-sold EU beef.

This position will be reviewed if:

However, if consumers are concerned about the source of the meat they are buying they should ask the retailer.

The enforcement of the BSE controls in licensed meat premises in Great Britain is the responsibility of the Meat Hygiene Service, an executive Agency of the Food Standards Agency. In Northern Ireland this is the responsibility of Agriculture and Rural Development on behalf of the Food Standards Agency.

Local authority enforcement officers are responsible for enforcing controls on the sale of over thirty month meat other than in licensed premises. Under the Beef Controls Regulations the penalties are: a. on summary conviction - a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, 5000; b. on conviction on indictment - an unlimited fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both.

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