Should the link be proved, the irony of the fact that a substance used to mark products deemed a potential health hazard is in itself a potential health hazard is considerable and disturbing.
Of particular concern is the lack of communication over the issue. It seems to me that there have been far too many assumptions made on all sides.
The Association of Meat Inspectors assumed the Meat Hygiene Service had checked safety concerns, while the MHS assumed either the Rural Payments Agency or Defra had considered the issue. Whether anyone actually has looked at the situation remains unclear. All in all, it appears to be something of a shambles on what should clearly be a critical issue.
In the meantime someone needs to take responsibility for carrying out those assessments, or simply finding out whether those assessments ever took place.
Regardless of any outcome however, it will be of little comfort to the family of Frederick Gulliver. When it comes to issues of health and safety, assumptions are simply not good enough.
? In a comment piece from 30 June, entitled End of an Era, I suggested that Smithfield Market had lost its special status. However this is not the case and I would like to clarify that Smithfield retains its right to a 6&2/3rd mile zone.