05 September 1997
Dianas funeral delays meat hygiene announcement

By FWi staff

NEW meat hygiene guidelines involving farmers, auction markets and abattoirs are expected to be announced by MAFF next week.

Farm minister Dr Jack Cunningham was set to launch the reports on the red- and white-meat sectors, covering hygiene standards and training, at the food safety conference in London this week.

But a decision by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to order cabinet ministers not to give policy statements in the run-up to Diana, Princess of Waless funeral tomorrow, meant that the announcement was postponed.

It is now likely to be made by junior farm minister Jeff Rooker at next weeks Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Officers annual meeting in Bournemouth.

The Government is expected to back the Meat Hygiene Services calls in May for clean livestock at auction marts and abattoirs. Dirty livestock and carcasses showing faecal contamination were seen as a contributory factor in the spread of the deadly E. coli 0157 organism in the UK earlier this year.

The National Farmers Union believes that the new guidelines will not impose further restrictions on farmers. However, the same cannot be said for the abattoir industry, which is expected to be pressurised into adopting stringent hygiene self-assessment.