Present at the meeting were Association of Independent Meat Suppliers, British Meat Processors Association, British Poultry Council, the Farmers’ Union of Wales, Hampshire Game, International Meat Trade Association, National Association of Catering Butchers, National Federation of Meat & Food Traders, Northern Ireland Meat Exporters Association and Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers.
The meeting came following a series of enforcement action taken by the FSA and FSS. This included a suspension of production at Russell Hume and unannounced inspections at DB Foods and Fairfax Meadow, which led to the withdrawal of products. The FSA had previously said that action in the latter two cases had been taken following information provided after the Russell Hume investigation.
In a joint statement, the FSA and FSS hailed the meeting as “constructive”.
“The discussion was constructive and engaging, with all in the meeting agreeing the need for close collaboration and co-operation between regulators and industry in responding to the issues raised by recent events.
“As regulators and industry bodies we have a shared interest in making sure that consumer trust in the UK meat industry remains high. The food chain depends on trust and we want people to be confident that the meat they enjoy has been produced to the highest standards.”
The joint statement added: “We recognise that some concerns have been uncovered by recent regulatory inspections. In most cases, businesses involved have taken action to demonstrate compliance and continue to trade normally. Where those concerns were serious, enforcement procedures have been put in place.”
Earlier this month, the FSA and FSS announced a review of meat cutting plant and cold stores. More details are expected in February, with the results to be made available to the public.
They added: “We will continue to work together to support meat businesses in fully understanding what is expected of them in relation to current regulations and ensuring full and effective industry engagement with the forthcoming FSA/FSS review of cutting plants and cold stores.”