BMPA to launch revised Pork Scheme

The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) is to launch its new BMPA Pork Scheme on Friday (1 May), following a comprehensive review of its existing pork quality standards.

The revised scheme has been developed with a view to simplifying the requirements for businesses, making audits more fit for purpose, and strengthening the schemes provisions with regards to provenance and traceability.

The standards, which cover fresh pork and a range of products, including sausages, bacon and ham, are managed through a series of announced and unannounced audits, carried out by independent UKAS-accredited bodies, with products meeting the standards carrying the Red Tractor logo.

The review, carried out by a working group made up of Pigmeat Technical Advisory Committee representatives, considered the recommendations laid out in the Elliot Review, which covered businesses being able to demonstrate their knowledge of the supply chain, and extending the scope of audits to include external cold stores, for example.

Changes have been made to the modules, format, and layout of the documents and, to avoid confusion about the name of the scheme, which was previously known as charter standards, the standards will now be collectively referred to as the BMPA Pork Scheme, and each component of the scheme will be referred to as a pork module.

According to the BMPA, under the existing scheme, the frequency of audit requirements varied, but under the changes each pork module will now be subject to two audits a year one announced and one unannounced.

Other changes include the requirement for scheme participants to introduce a schedule of traceability testing, which will incorporate a quarterly mass balance exercise, and that where an external cold store used by a participant is not subject to a British Retail Consortium (BRC) food safety audit, then the facility will need to be accredited against the BRCs Global Standard for Storage and Distribution.

BMPA director Stephen Rossides admitted to Meat Trades Journal that what started out as a general review of the standards, in order to bring them up to date, ended up being a much bigger task than anticipated, but said the Pork Scheme was now more modern, clearer and tighter on traceability.

The review was designed to reflect new developments, simplify the standards, set them out in a clearer way, reflect good practices and, to some extent, the post-horsegate world, among other things, he explained.

Some of the traceability and provenance provisions in the scheme have been strengthened. There is also now a requirement for scheme members to demonstrate an understanding of their supply chain, and isotope testing has been extended to cover bacon as well as fresh pork, for example, he said. Existing requirements regarding the cleaning and disinfecting of haulier vehicles have also been reviewed, with it now mandatory for all vehicles to undergo this procedure before they leave a site, which is key to biosecurity.

The new scheme will be auditable from 1 August 2015.

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