Abattoirs agree voluntary take-up of HACCP
Agriculture minister Dr Jack Cunningham is due to announce tough action by meat plants today to improve hygiene and safety in the wake of crises over E.coli and BSE.
A review of the UK abattoir industry was sparked by an E.coli outbreak in Lanarkshire, Scotland, last year which killed 20 people. There have been a series of smaller outbreaks since the Lanarkshire incident including a weekend poisoning involving three people.
Dr Cunningham is making his announcement at 3pm today. He is expected to say that abattoir industry leaders have agreed to press for the introduction of the hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) system on a voluntary basis in every slaughterhouse. The voluntary stance has been taken by abattoir owners to prevent the government imposing it on them, an official said.
The system of publishing hygiene scores of individual abattoirs has been introduced into a number countries – in a bid to improve meat safety standards – including Australia.
The aim would be to adopt it across the UK by the end of 1998. The governments Meat Hygiene Service will monitor the measures.