BMPA ups the ante on hygiene

The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) is seeking a fundamental review of the current EU and domestic meat hygiene regime. In a letter written to Tim Smith, the Food Standard Agency's chief executive, Stuart Roberts, director of the BMPA, said while the processors share wholeheartedly the FSA's desire to cut the cost of meat hygiene work through operational transformation, they believe that significant reductions in cost can only be realised by identifying a clear vision of a proportionate and risk-based meat hygiene regime. This piece of work, Roberts proposed, is carried by the key industry and consumer bodies, as well as the Meat Hygiene Service and the FSA. It would entail, he said, identifying what the industry/consumers/regulators want from a truly proportionate and risk-based meat hygiene regime and how this future vision is achieved by addressing: changes to the implementation of existing policies, FSA/Defra policy changes, as well as domestic and European legislative changes. It would also take into account industry changes. Since the current Meat Hygiene Advisory Body is currently focused on MHS transformation, Roberts believed it does not have the time or the resources to look beyond the operational issues being addressed by the transformation programme. Roberts said the BMPA was prepared to commit resources to this project and called on Smith to give the FSA's backing to it. Meanwhile, as MTJ as went to press, the FSA announced it was holding an open board meeting in London on Wednesday, at which it would reveal whether it would press ahead with the Control Body pilot called for by the processing industry which has expressed disillusionment and dissatisfaction with the transformation of the MHS.

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