New BMPA head sets out industry stall

The meat industry is looking forward to greater interest and recognition of food from the new UK government, according to the new president of the British Meat Processors' Association (BMPA).

David Gunner told delegates to the BMPA annual conference: "To those in government ministers, the regulators and the administrators I say, we welcome the closer policy interest in food and the rather greater recognition than in the past of the importance of the food and farming industry to the national economy and to national and international food security. This is a contribution that has been too long undervalued."

He said the meat sector is looking for more modern, risk-based, proportionate and cost-effective regulation, less reliance on "arbitrary" target-setting, particularly on issues like salt and fat, and more considered comment from government ministers when it comes to industry's role within the environment.

The conference also saw the unveiling of the BMPA's new policy statement 'Towards a Sustainable Meat Industry'. Gunner said: "This sets out the BMPA's strategic priorities and principal work streams. This is a living document, which will evolve in the light of developments and changing priorities."

He said a key focus of the document is standards, both in terms of quality and industry practices: "Particularly in the light of the Equality and Human Rights Commission report on employment in the meat processing sector, we must ensure the highest professional standards among our members. Any failings or lapses by a few damage us all."

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