On 11 October 2018, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) published a draft review of meat cutting plants and cold stores. The review includes a series of recommendations for the meat industry and the regulators themselves, aimed at improving compliance and assurance in the meat processing industry.
The review was announced in February 2018 (see current note 52/0903) to identify potential improvements in the way the sector is regulated in the wake of non-compliance issues identified at cutting plants. Emergent findings were published and discussed at the FSA and FSS Board meetings in May and June.
A comprehensive stakeholder engagement and evidence gathering process has been conducted which included:
- contacting all 419 local authorities in the UK and 325 food business organisations to seek their views;
- holding six workshops across the UK attended by almost 100 organisations, including food businesses, local authorities and trade bodies;
- engaging with more than 60 industry stakeholder organisations and others who represent professional members working in regulation and assurance.
The recommendations, which are subject to the approval of each organisation’s Board at a meeting in Edinburgh on 17 October, are designed to prioritise food safety and improve overall industry standards in the meat supply chain.
The 19 recommendations for industry and regulators include:
- greater involvement of industry to produce clearer guidance to meet the needs of food businesses;
- increased focus on skills and capabilities across industry;
- greater data transparency and sharing across industry and with the regulators;
- more effective use of data by regulatory authorities and improved regulatory coordination and consistency;
- trialling the feasibility of using a single organisation to deliver all official controls in a geographic location.
The draft review is available on the FSA website
Source: FSA, 11 October 2018