FSA does U-turn over Cranswick exports to China

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has changed its decision to deny Cranswick the right to export to China, after a local MP brought the issue to the Prime Minister’s attention.

The FSA had previously declared that the company’s Preston plant did not meet the requirements for the Chinese market, despite having won approval by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart told Meat Trades Journal: “For some reason, the FSA interpreted the Chinese rules in such a way as to suggest the plant was not eligible to export, despite the fact that it is one of the most advanced plants in the world and its products are at the top end of the market.”

After a visit to the plant, during which Cranwsick managing director Adam Couch mentioned the problem to him, Stuart decided to bring it up at the first Question Time of 2012 with the Prime Minister. He asked David Cameron to ensure that “job-destroying and unnecessary regulation [would] not be tolerated by his government”, to which Cameron answered by congratulating Cranswick on its expansion.

That same afternoon, the FSA issued an official statement that said: “We expect to be able to approve the plant for export of pig meat to China once the standards set by the Chinese authorities have been met.”

Stuart said he didn’t know what role his intervention had played in the overturn, but added he was “delighted” that the FSA had recognised that Cranswick deserved approval. “Cranswick is a local success story. They have invested and modernised their plant in the last few years and their staff went from 700 to 1,200,” he said.

“Gaining the USDA’s support allowed them to export cuts in low demand in the UK, such as ribs, and gaining Chinese support would be an opportunity to export low cuts that are in high demand on the Chinese market, helping them maximise the value return from pork products.”

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