The Boards of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) have published the draft review, which was launched in the wake of a number of high profile non-compliance issues identified at cutting plants.
The review took a fundamental look at how the current arrangements could work better and focused on tackling the root causes of common issues, and not just the symptoms.
The recommendations, which are subject to the approval of each organisation’s Board at a meeting in Edinburgh on 17 October 2018, are designed to prioritise food safety and improve overall industry standards in the meat supply chain.
Skills and data
Recommendations include the greater involvement of industry to produce clearer guidance to meet the needs of food businesses. It has also suggested that there should be an increased focus on skills and capabilities across industry and greater data transparency and sharing across both industry and regulators. The review also called for more effective use of data by regulatory authorities and improved regulatory coordination and consistency. It has also called for a trial to test the feasibility of using a single organisation to deliver all official controls in a geographic location.
“The majority of our meat sector acts responsibly ensuring food safety compliance across their process, and it is important that the actions of a minority do not damage the reputation of the whole sector,” said Geoff Ogle, chief executive of FSS.
“That’s why we and the FSA have looked at a comprehensive evidence base and have made wide-ranging recommendations for improvement for both industry and regulators that will ensure the high standards and safety we expect in our meat industry.”
He added that when the respective boards have agreed the next steps they will work to deliver the improvements identified.
Jason Feeney, chief executive of the FSA, said: “We launched this review following a series of high profile events over the last 12 months at a number of meat businesses. These incidents cast a shadow over the whole sector and not just the businesses directly at fault. This challenged consumer confidence and trust in the industry as a whole.”