Food Law News - UK - 2006
FSA News Item, 13 March 2006
MEAT HYGIENE - FSA Board Meeting – National measures for UK meat plants and Harmonisation of specified risk material controls when the beef export ban is lifted
The Agency held an Open Board Meeting in Glasgow on Thursday 9 March 2006 . The following is an extract from the report:
Board paper: National measures for UK meat plants
The new EU Food Hygiene Regulations allow some of the rules applicable to meat plants to be varied in the interests of proportionality, as long as public health protection is maintained. In many cases this flexibility is provided in order to accommodate the needs of remote or small businesses. This paper proposed a number of such variations, all of which would require the agreement of the EU Commission and the other Member States .
- commented on the proposals outlined
- agreed the principles set out in the paper but felt clarification was needed of the terms ‘local' and ‘satisfactory'
- felt that there should be an emphasis on plants ‘earning the right' to operate a meat plant business
- suggested that there should be further thought given to the throughput criteria to be used in the case of wild game
- accepted that the Agency should press for UK trichinella free status
- agreed that there should be a continued low level survey of wildlife and pigs to maintain the UK 's trichinella-free state
- agreed to seek the consent of the EU Commission and other Member States to the proposals
Board paper: Harmonisation of specified risk material controls when the beef export ban is lifted
In the event that the ban on UK exports of beef is lifted, the UK will be required under EU law to lower the threshold at which vertebral column becomes specified risk material (SRM) from 30 to 24 months.
SEAC had advised the Government that lowering the 30-month age limit would have negligible beneficial effect.
The paper argued that not allowing the removal of 24-30 month vertebral column to be carried out at authorised butchers would unnecessarily reduce consumer choice.
- agreed that, when the beef export ban is lifted, the removal of vertebral column SRM for 24-30 month animals in the UK should be permitted in local authority authorised butchers
- agreed that in the case of head meat, removal is only allowed in slaughterhouses for the time being, but that this position is reviewed after a suitable interval of time
- requested a further paper on the remaining issues in the summer
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