BMPA presses Defra on new pig inspection regime

The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) is calling on Defra to seek approval from third countries on the new post mortem visual pig inspection system, which comes into force this month.

In a letter to George Eustice, seen by Meat Trades Journal, BMPA director Stephen Rossides, said the association was keen to ensure that rapid progress is made in securing the approval of third countries for the new post mortem visual pig inspection system.

Currently many third country veterinary authorities use the methods of palpation and incision as part of their approval process for export sites. However the new EU pig inspection regime for post mortem inspection only requires visual inspection of the carcase, in place of more invasive methods which can potentially spread contamination.

If plants in the UK are to move to visual inspection, third country authorities must approve this, said Rossides.

Before UK abattoirs that export to third countries can move to visual inspection, the government needs to secure its acceptance by third country veterinary authorities, read the letter.

As the changes to pig inspections derive from EU legislation, we would have expected the Commission to secure third country acceptance on behalf of all EU member states. However, the Commission has made it clear that it will not undertake this role and are leaving the matter to individual member states.

Rossides said that if acceptance was not secured by Defra, then plants exporting to third countries would have no choice but to retain their existing inspection methods.

In April, MTJ reported that union body Unison feared changes to the pig inspection rules would result in infected meat ending up on the plates of UK consumers. However the Food Standards Agency claimed the hands-on method can cause the spread of bacteria, and that the system was in desperate need of modernisation.

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