The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) announced on Monday stricter measures, in the form of a seven point plan, to tighten the laws preventing unfit poultry meat entering the human food chain.
This move follows several recent investigations into the illegal diversion of unfit poultry meat into the food chain. Most notably the conviction of seven people in December 2000 for the conspiracy to defraud by selling meat for human consumption when it was destined for petfood. The case involved more than 1,000 tonnes of poultry by-products and received much critical news coverage in the UK.
Commenting on the new plan FSA Chairman Sir John Krebs said, "Current controls are not adequately protecting consumers from unfit meat entering the human food chain. There are already strict controls in place, but these need to be tightened and loopholes need to be closed."</>
The plan includes a requirement to stain 'high risk' unfit poultry meat - bringing it into line with requirements for red meat and to extend staining to cover licensed cold stores and cutting plants. Other points cover a commitment to improve traceability and quality assurance within supply chains in the catering sector and to work with the meat industry to develop a Code of Practice on the handling and disposal of animal by-products.
Media images of rotting meat converted into sausages and hamburgers still linger in the mind of the UK consumer. To avoid any further repetition of events last December it is essential that the FSA quickly and successfully implements the new seven point action plan.