meat entering the human food chain were announced today by the food
standards agency. The action plan is to be considered by the food
standards agency board at an open meeting in Belfast on Wednesday.
The action follows several recent investigations into the illegal
diversion of unfit poultry meat into the food chain. In December 2000
seven people were convicted at Hull crown court of conspiracy to
defraud by selling meat for human consumption when it was destined
for petfood. The case involved more than 1,000 tonnes of poultry
by-products. In March 2001, a joint investigation by Amber Valley
BC, the police and the FSA led to the seizure of 20 tonnes of
unfit poultry meat.
The 7 point plan proposes:
- introducing a requirement to stain 'high risk' unfit poultry meat -
bringing it into line with requirements for red meat;
- extending staining to cover licensed cold stores and cutting
- a commitment to improve traceability and quality assurance within
supply chains in the catering sector, particularly in hospitals and
- working with the meat industry to develop a Code of Practice on the
handling and disposal of animal by-products and independent auditing
of their activities; and considering what controls are necessary on
food brokers who trade in food but may not know the source of the
products they are trading in.
In addition, the agency is proposing to set up a waste food task
force to examine what further measures may be needed to control the
annual disposal of 754,000 tonnes of poultry waste. In particular,
the task force would examine the role of food brokers dealing in
Agency chairman Sir John Krebs said:
' It has become apparent since the recent case in Rotherham, and
subsequent investigation in Amber Valley, that current controls are
not adequately protecting consumers from unfit meat entering the
human food chain. There are already strict controls in place, but
these need to be tightened and loopholes need to be closed.
' In addition to changes in the law we want to work with industry on
ways to improve traceability throughout the food chain. The FSA board
will consider these proposals very carefully to ensure that the
consumer is protected as far as possible from this illegal trade.'
The consultation which led to this action plan considered a number of
options, staining high risk poultry by-products; staining both high
risk and low risk poultry by-products.
1. The consultation was carried out between 28 April 2001 and 8
2. The Animal By-Products Order 1999, made under the Animal Health
Act 1981, lays down rules in Great Britain for the disposal and
processing of animal by-products.
3. The Order categorises animal by-products into 'high-risk'
material which is not fit for human consumption, such as birds that
are dead on arrival, those killed for disease control reasons or
those that have not passed post-mortem inspection.
4. Low-risk material is considered to be all other by-products
outside the 'high-risk' category which are rejected mainly on quality