Meat inspectors from across the country attended the weekend-long conference, which started on the evening of Friday, 7 September and ended the following Sunday.
Saturday saw the delivery of seven industry-specific papers, which were given by members of the AMI, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA).
The first paper on the Small Abattoir’s Perspective on the Modernisation of Meat Inspection was given by the policy-maker of the National Federation of Meat and Food Inspectors William Lloyd Williams. He told AMI members that, as the owner of a small abattoir, he was passionate about them and concerned that new legislations and rules were hampering the way they are run.
Williams said: “I go to work now and think ‘what are they going to find wrong today?’ I have been to lots of meetings in London and York and, loads of times, I have looked at new rules and think it’s nearly what we want. But what I would like on the front of it is trust; I don’t want Big Brother looking at me all of the time – I’m not doing anything wrong.”
Following Williams’ paper, business manager and chair of the Anti-Bullying and Harassment Working Group Kevin Maher spoke of the work the FSA was doing to eliminate bullying within the food industry, abattoirs and from within the FSA itself. Head of operational delivery at the FSA Ian McWatt also gave a paper on how the meat inspector’s role could become more diverse.
Other papers included an update on the Schmallenberg Virus, ear tag fraud, Spanish meat inspection and HSA’s view on new PATK regulations.
AMI president Archie Anderson closed the seminar at a dinner held at the university on Saturday evening. Anderson also presented the Robin Irish Award, which this year went to one of the event organisers and retired meat inspector Brian Bull.
On closing the ceremony Anderson said: “It’s my duty to close the conference and thank you all. So many of the characters have gone from the trade. Thank you to the staff who are here for the first time, we will learn from their ways and they will learn from ours.”
A special thanks was also given to Stephen Holden who organised the whole event. General secretary Ian Robinson said: “It was his first year organising the seminar and he has done a great job.”
AMI Trustees met shortly after the close of this year's seminar to discuss arrangements for next year and its 50th seminar.