UK freight group demands ‘more robust’ supply management

“This is clearly a substantial Europe-wide incident, which is still unfolding, and one that poses a major challenge to the robustness of procedures and standards within the European Union meat marketplace,” the organisation said in a statement.

“This is even more the case as it is in the wake of events five or more years ago, when consignments of out of condition and unsafe meat, were discovered along with evidence of re-marking and re-labelling.”

FSDF noted that these prior events caused significant changes in EU food traceability methods and the ability to map the journey from farm to fork. As a result of these measures it was believed that such events would no longer be possible.

The unsafe meat scandal resulted in tighter regulations and rigorous documentation were implemented to ensure that every stage in the chain was properly recorded. The aim was that consignments of meat products could be traced across borders to ensure clear identification and demonstrate that food standards had been maintained.

“FSDF member companies, their customers and the Food Standards Agency, worked very hard to implement the most cost effective and transparent way to replicate this requirement within the UK and to demonstrate that products are kept in cool chain every step of the way,” FSDF stated.

It added that EU Regulations were reviewed and amended and the interpretation of how enforcement should be carried out was clarified with the involvement of the industry. Regulation EU No 16/2012 provides for enforcement of Regulation EU 853/2004, and the Food Hygiene Regulations 2012 mean the UK has one of the most effective food traceability and identification processes in the world.

However, the trade body pointed out that this robust control process only covers the storage and distribution chain: “Regrettably, it does not cover procurement, manufacturing and processing sectors, where it appears these kinds of public health scares have arisen.

“FSDF members, with their close relationship with meat trade customers, Defra and FSA, will continue to ensure that good quality meat, in the right condition and properly identified and labelled, will be delivered from abattoirs and markets to UK and European retail, wholesale and food service customers. Only in that way can consumer confidence be justifiably maintained. We look forward to help create a speedy resolution to the problems.”

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