Food Law News - UK - 1998
30 November 1998: HYGIENE - Improving Meat Hygiene: A Review of Progress
MAFF Press Release (467/98 ), 30 November 1998
Improving Meat Hygiene: A Review of Progress
A report which details the action taken by Government and the meat industry to drive up hygiene standards in British abattoirs was published today. The report reviews the progress made between June and October 1998 in implementing the recommendations of the Government/Industry Working Group on Meat Hygiene. These were published in September 1997 in the Forward Programmes for the Red Meat and Poultry Industries.
Agriculture Minister Nick Brown said:
"I welcome the efforts that have been made by all those associated with implementing the Working Group's recommendations. The second Review of Progress demonstrates that those involved in all areas of meat production are working well with the Government to achieve real results in driving up standards in slaughterhouses. I have asked my officials to continue to work with the industry on the recommendations and have asked to see a further progress report in April next year. Much still remains to be done and there is no room for complacency where public health is concerned. Hygiene standards in our abattoirs must continue to improve if we are to increase consumer confidence in British meat."
The main areas of progress are:
- the continued widespread promotion of the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) Clean Livestock Policy, by both Government and industry organisations to help reduce the delivery of wet and dirty cattle and sheep to abattoirs;
- the production of new clean livestock guidance for sheep and cattle farmers, also published today ;
- confirmation through a recent survey carried out by the British Poultry Meat Federation, that a very high proportion of live meat poultry flocks in the UK are now tested for Salmonella;
- funding by the Meat and Livestock Commission for the preparation of a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) implementation manual for use by slaughterhouses which is expected to be made available early in 1999; and
- the launch of the Meat Training Council's new basic meat safety certificate and associated training package, which took place on Wednesday 25 November 1998.
The Government/Industry Working Group on Meat Hygiene was set up in March 1997 to co-ordinate the drive towards consistently high standards of hygiene in abattoirs. The Group is comprised of representatives from the meat industry, officials from the UK Agriculture Departments, the Department of Health, Department for Education and Employment, meat industry bodies and others. A full list is printed in the Review document.
The Working Group's Forward Programmes, published in September 1997, made a number of recommendations aimed at ensuring consistently high standards in abattoirs and poultry plants. The main ones were:
- tightening up standards of cleanliness for livestock being presented for slaughter in line with the MHS Clean Livestock Policy;
- the implementation of HACCP in slaughterhouses on a voluntary basis;
- the establishment of an industry-wide hygiene training and certification scheme, drawn up by the Meat Training Council;
- adoption of appropriate measures to ensure the health of poultry flocks, including Salmonella testing;
- consideration of the potential use of process treatments.
The first Review of Progress (detailing the action taken on the Working Group's recomendations between September 1997 and May 1998) was published in July 1998. The Government/Industry Working Group's Forward Programmes for the Poultry Industry (PB 3247) and the Red Meat Industry (PB 3248), and the Clean Livestock Policy (PB 3250) are available from MAFF Publications, Admail 6000, London SW1A 2XX (Tel: 0645 556000).
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