Food Law News - UK - 2007

FSA News item, 19 July 2007

MEAT HYGIENE - Board approves changes in meat hygiene regulation

[For a copy of the Board paper, including the review report, see: Review - Official Controls - Slaughterhouses; see also previous related UK Food Law News item: 13 July 2007]

The Food Standards Agency has today supported the seven key recommendations of the Review of the Delivery of Official Controls in Approved Meat Premises.

At its open meeting in Cardiff , the Agency's Board fully endorsed the principle that meat hygiene regulation should be aligned more closely with the regulation of the rest of the food chain, adopting a more risk and evidence-based approach to regulation, inspection and enforcement.

The Board noted that this would require working collaboratively with the European Commission and other Member States , to gather evidence as a basis for future changes in the EU approach to meat hygiene regulation. The Board agreed this would be a priority.

The Board agreed that Official Controls in England , Scotland and Wales should be delivered by a Transformed Meat Hygiene Service (TMHS), provided it meets a series of challenging financial and performance targets. This approach would be supported by an audit and inspection regime, which would maintain a high level of consumer protection and promote compliance with Official Controls, through a system based on earned autonomy. The Board also agreed to conduct the preparatory work on a delivery partner model as part of a move towards greater contestability. A decision on this would be made by the Board in spring 2008.

The Board also agreed:

Dame Deirdre Hutton, Chair of the Food Standards Agency, said: 'Today marks a watershed in the regulation of meat hygiene. The delivery of a more proportionate risk-based approach to regulation poses a challenge to both the Meat Hygiene Service and the Food Standards Agency and will require commitment, innovation and strong leadership. Throughout this process we must always remember our foremost priority, the protection of consumer health. The future success of the MHS now lies in its own hands.'

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