(MHS), has called for independent meat inspection to move 'upstream' to
include farms. The union has launched a vigorous campaign in favour of
strong independent meat inspection to prevent profits coming before safety
in abattoirs and to ensure consumer confidence in meat safety. The union
believes that if farms were inspected by meat inspectors the current foot
and mouth crisis may have been prevented.
Ben Priestley, UNISON national officer for meat inspectors, said:
'UNISON has long argued that independent meat inspection should move
upstream to ensure that welfare standards and animal health are properly
scrutinised on the farm. This is not happening at the moment and puts
consumers in danger.
'If the farm at the centre of the foot and mouth crisis had been visited
regularly by independent meat inspectors this crisis may have been
prevented, or at the very least, contained much earlier.
'The problem of inspection could get worse because of European proposals to
exempt farms from introducing the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points
(HACCP) system. This system requires abattoir owners to draw up a paper
procedure to identify risks in meat production and how to reduce or
eliminate them. This system should be introduced on farms too, alongside
the additional security of strong, independent inspection by meat hygiene