FSA News Item, 9 March 2006
The Food Standards Agency has begun an ongoing programme of approval visits to all UK meat plants. New EU hygiene regulations, which came into force on 1 January 2006 , require all meat plants in the UK to be approved in order that they may continue to trade. All plants that were operating under cover of a licence at the end of last year will be able to continue to trade until an approval visit has been carried out.
Alick Simmons, Food Standards Agency Veterinary Director, said: 'The FSA is committed to protecting public health and ensuring that industry is compliant with regulations.
'The Agency will take a firm but fair approach to re-approving meat plants and will offer as much help and support to businesses as it can. However, where appropriate action is not taken in order to comply with the regulations, the FSA will not hesitate to refuse approval and therefore non-compliant plants may have to close, subject to appeal.'
The FSA has been working with industry over the past 12 months to help businesses comply with the new regulations. It has contacted all premises that will be affected to inform them of the changes in regulations.
The Agency has worked with industry representative bodies to publish compliance guidance and has also offered and carried out free appraisal visits to some 300 businesses. It will continue to support industry and give as much help as it can to meat plants to enable them to comply.