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A package of measures to tighten the laws preventing unfit poultry ...
A package of measures to tighten the laws preventing unfit poultry

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

poultry meat.

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

June 2001.

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


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