Union says pig inspection changes will bring ‘infected’ meat to UK

Unison, which represents food inspectors, has again hit out at planned pig inspection changes, saying they will result in ‘infected’ meat ending up on UK dinner plates.

The new EU pig inspection rules, which will come into effect in June, will focus on a risk-based and visual system, moving away from hands-on inspection. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) claimed the hands-on inspection system can cause the spread of bacteria, adding that the current meat inspection system is over 100 years old and in desperate need of modernising.

However, Unison believes the new EU laws will end up with meat unfit for human consumption making its way into the UK supply chain. Representatives from Unison have been quoted in The Guardian, making their opposition to the changes clear.

A Unison spokesperson said: “The UK government’s agenda will result in food that repulses us being dished up on our plates. Most people do not know that there are a small group of meat inspectors and vets that keep them safe from harmful and repulsive additions to our sausages, Sunday roasts and beef pies.

“They work in some of the most awful conditions in blood and animal discharges every day. They are always the first to come under attack, not only from the food business operators, but also from our government.”

Stephen Rossides, director of the British Meat Processors Association, was unhappy with Unison’s attack, though. He said: “This is shameful scaremongering by meat inspectors’ unions to protect jobs by frightening consumers.

“The changes to official meat controls follow scientific opinions from the European Food Safety Authority that concluded the existing system of official meat controls is outdated, does not adequately address today’s food-borne hazards, and, indeed, that some procedures – notably routine incision and palpation of carcases during post-mortem inspections – can spread contamination.

“The unions are attacking the measures now since modernisation of official meat controls should lead to the need for fewer meat inspectors.”

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