Loophole keeps unsafe slaughterhouses open

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Slaughterhouse, Food standards agency

Steve McGrath, FSA
Steve McGrath, FSA
Some slaughter houses and meat cutting plants that are in breach of food safety controls and present potential hygiene hazards are still operating – despite the refusal or withdrawal of approval by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) – because of a loophole in the law.

The FSA wants the government to amend existing legislation to block the loophole, which allows those appealing against action taken against them to continue operating until their cases have been heard.

The situation in the UK is in contrast with the rest of the EU, where withdrawal of approval means firms cannot operate until they either come up to standard or have their appeals upheld.

For some alleged transgressors, the time lag between action and appeal has been over a year, reported the FSA’s interim director of operations Steve McGrath at last month’s Board meeting. Following his presentation, the Board agreed to consult on and seek ministerial agreement for an amendment to the Official Feed and Food Controls Regulations 2009.

Since January 2006, a total of 55 plants in Britain (mostly in England) have been refused approval and have exercised their right of appeal. During 2009/10 10 appeals were dealt with and not one has been resolved quickly. One case, which began in May 2009, still remains unresolved, reported McGrath.

Refusal, or the withdrawal of approval, is the last resort that is only applied where serious deficiencies remain, according to McGrath.

Related topics: Food Safety, Meat & poultry