Risk revision needed

Meat bosses are hoping revised guidance from the Food Standards Agency will clear up confusion.

Meat bosses are hoping revised guidance from the Food Standards Agency will clear up confusion on how butcher's should handle the removal of vertebral column from beef carcases.


The Food Standards Agency came under fire from both the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders (NFMFT) and the Scottish Federation of Meat Traders Association (SFMTA) for its failure to consult the industry and for creating confusion.


While the FSA has now taken on board the criticism and has revised its advice to solve the problem, both Douglas Scott, of the SFMTA, and Graham Bidston, from the NFMFT, hit out at the FSA for the delay in resolving the situation.


A spokesman for the FSA said: "The [guide] was produced as quickly as possible and was first issued to LAs on 7 April. There has been no delay because of revisions. The first document accurately reflected the requirements of the EU regulations; these requirements have not changed. We have simply responded to feedback from industry and worked with MLC to produce a revised version and an illustrated guide - which has been well received."


The guide is supplied to local authorities who then send it out to butchers applying for a licence to remove the vertebral column.It has since been reviewed by the meat industry and the FSA made the simplified document available to local authorities last week.


Scott said the original document was bogged down by details that would have discouraged butchers from applying for a licence and said he hoped the revised document would be more user-friendly.


The Illustrated Guide to the Removal of the Vertebral Column is available from the FSA on 0207 2768389.

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