After  the  trial  in Hull Crown Court where condemned chicken was put into the human food chain, the Food Standards Agency said:

“Putting  condemned  meat  into  the  human  food chain is a very serious matter, and one that could affect human health.

“We  have  been following this case closely. It has raised some important issues  that  we  are considering carefully. We are already discussing with MAFF,  the  Meat  Hygiene Service and LACOTS the need for further action to reduce the likelihood of this happening again.

“The  fresh  meat sector is one of the most strictly regulated sectors of the  food industry. If the law needs tightening to ensure better protection of  human  health,  we  would not hesitate to recommend changes to the law. This could include the staining of poultry meat.”

“If  anyone has any evidence of condemned meat entering the food chain we urge  them  to approach either their local authority or our Local Authority Enforcement Support Division.”

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Notes for Editors

  1. The  Food  Standards  Agency  met  with  Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council on 5 December. No evidence has yet been provided by Rotherham of an illicit  trade  in condemned poultry outside of this court case. The Agency will  be  meeting Rotherham MBC after the conclusion of the case to discuss any information they have to substantiate this claim.
  2. Slaughterhouses and cutting plants are approved and licensed by the Food Standards Agency. Enforcement in licensed slaughterhouses, where unfit meat is  separated  from  the  meat  which  is fit for human consumption, is the responsibility of the Minister of Agriculture Fisheries and Food in England (and the Secretaries of State in Scotland and Wales).
  3. The Official Veterinary Surgeons and Meat Hygiene Inspectors, employed by the  Meat  Hygiene  Service carry out the enforcement function on behalf of the Minister, MAFF (or SoS for Wales and Scotland).
  4. Once  unfit  meat  is  separated  from  meat  that  is  fit  for  human consumption,  it  is required to be sent for disposal in approved premises. Approval  of by-products plants, including collection centres and rendering plants where condemned meat should be disposed of, is the responsibility of MAFF.  Enforcement  at  such premises lies with local authorities and MAFF, who  must  ensure that they have adequate resources for enforcement to suit the local situation.
  5. The  Agency has recently published new guidelines for local authorities setting  out  when local authorities are required to inform the Agency of a serious  food  hazard. The Agency’s role is to ensure that effective action is  taken  at  a  local  level,  and  where necessary to notify other local authorities  of  action  required  and  to  help  cop-ordinate  action at a national level.
  6. If  any  similar  incidents come to light in Rotherham, or by any other local  authority, they should contact the Food Standards Agency as a matter of urgency.