FSA and AIMS agree on carcase standard proposals

Slaughterhouses that do not hand over carcases that have been declared unfit by the Official Veterinarian (OV) may face a two-stage appeals system. 

According to Jason Feeney, chief executive of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), should the food business operator (FBO) fail to submit the carcase, the first stage of the process would involve a vet of the FBO’s choice having a discussion with the OV and a senior vet with the aim of reaching a decision as to whether or not the carcase is fit or not for human consumption. If a conclusion is not met at this stage, then the FBO will be given the option to take the matter to a magistrates.

"We are working closely with the meat industry on a new process to improve how disputes relating to meat declared for human consumption are resolved," a spokesperson for the FSA told Meat Trades Journal. 

"The detail of how the system will work is still being worked through but the ambition is clear. We will continue to work with relevant organisations on these proposals over the coming weeks."

The proposals come after the FSA has been working with the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS) to resolve a long-standing dispute between the Agency and the meat industry, which has seen both organisations fight it out in court, at a considerable expense to both parties. At the moment, AIMS is awating a decision from the Supreme Court on whether it will hear an appeal against a High Court judement that Section 9 of the Food Safety Act could no longer be used.

If AIMS acheives its goal, it will mean that the court action will no longer need pursuing. As a knock-on effect, the FSA’s willingness to work alongside AIMS to deliver a shared goal in enusring safe food for the consumer is being consdiered a significant step forward in rebuilding trust.

Norman Bagley, head of policy at AIMS said: “AIMS has received financial support for its legal action from numerous AIMS members and all sectors of the meat and livestock industries and is very pleased that this support has led to a satisfactory conclusion. Many thanks to all involved.”

Feeney spoke at AIMS’ annual conference, which took place on Friday, 29 October in Leeds.

What is Section 9 of the Food Safety Act?
Under Section 9 of the Food Safety Act, authorised officers or a food authority may inspect any food intended for human consumption at any time which has: been sold or is offered or exposed for sale; is in the position of or has been deposted with or consigned to any person for the purpose of sale or of preparation for sale or of preperation for sale.
If the officer finds that any food is likely to cause food poisoning or any disease communicable to human beings, then the officer may either give notice to the person in charge of the food that until the notice is withdrawn, the food is not consumed and either removed or is not to be removed except to some place specified in the notice. Alternatively, the food can be sezied and removed. Anybody who violated this will be guilty of an offence.
If it appears that any food fails to be dealt with, the food and be condemned and ordered to be destroyed or disposed of to prevent it from being consumed

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