"The recent unfit meat scams have shown the way that local authorities can effectively work both together, and with other Agencies, to undertake a professional and thorough investigation. All the authorities involved, including Amber Valley DC and Rotherham BC, have shown enormous commitment and dedication in protecting the public from this appalling trade in unfit meat," said Councillor Reg Smith MBE, member of LACOTS Management Committee and Chair of Local Government Association's Public Protection Executive Food Policy Task Group.
"Unfortunately that essential commitment has in some cases been at the expense of other more routine food work and we believe that the Food Standards Agency should be clear in its full support for local authorities who become involved in this kind of investigation that is so essential to ensure the public are protected."
LACOTS will be seeking a commitment from the Food Standards Agency that they will thoroughly examine and publish the outcomes of these investigations and work in partnership with all relevant partners including local authorities to agree ways to ensure the laundering of unfit meat is not possible in the future. LACOTS is also continuing to work with authorities involved in the recent investigations to identify mechanisms to ensure that investigations are effectively coordinated, supported and resourced at local, regional and national levels.
LACOTS provided the following additional 'Notes for Editors':
LACOTS is the Local Authorities Co-ordinating body on Food and Trading Standards whose role is to encourage consistent enforcement of food and trading standards law and promote good practice in local regulatory authorities. Enforcement co-ordination is the cornerstone of its activities.
Rotherham Borough Council lead an investigation in liaison with local police in which at 1,500 tonnes of condemned chicken and poultry meat was laundered back into the human food chain. Five men were jailed in Hull Crown Court in December last year.
Amber Valley District Council have worked in partnership with Derbyshire Police force to investigate another gang laundering unfit poultry meat back into the human food chain. Ongoing tracing of the meat has resulted in product recalls across the UK including some products on sale in major supermarkets. The case has yet to come to court.