The FSA has drawn up a plan to stop unfit poultry products passing into the human food chain.

On Wednesday, the UK’s Food Standards Agency will consider measures such as staining high-risk poultry meat and improving traceability within supply chains. The last thing the British meat and poultry industry needs is another food scare, making decisive FSA action a good move for the industry as a whole.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has announced a package of measures designed to stop poultry deemed unfit for human consumption being made into food for humans. The FSA board will debate the plan at an open meeting in Belfast later this week.

One of the key points under discussion is the staining of high risk unfit poultry meat with indelible ink, similar to the way unfit red meat is treated. Other points include improving traceability within supply chains, developing a Code of Practice for the disposal of animal by-products and considering what controls are needed for food brokers who may not know the source of their products.

The FSA was spurred into action earlier this year after several highly publicized cases where poultry destined for pet food was transferred into the human food chain. In March, 20 tonnes of meat were seized that had ended up in chicken nuggets and meat pastes, instead of the pet food for which they were intended. In December, seven people were convicted of conspiracy to defraud after attempts to mis-sell over 1,000 tonnes of poultry by-products.

The trade in low- and high-risk unfit poultry for food products has been prospering recently. It has been boosted by rising consumer demand for chicken in the face of worries over BSE and foot-and-mouth disease. Some of the larger chicken producers have already decided to stain poultry that is unfit for human consumption to try and cut down on this practice.

With so many people already worried about meat safety, any further concerns about any sort of animal or bird products can only exacerbate the problem in all areas. The FSA needs to cut down on this sort of crime fast and hard to convince the buying public that what they eat is going to be safe, if it is to stem the decline in meat consumption.

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