08 July 1998
Meat assurance groups join forces

By Shelley Wright

THE meat industry has moved further towards an industry-wide assurance scheme in England and Wales.

Dr Jack Cunningham, farm minister, announced the collaboration of Farm Assured British Beef and Lamb (FABBL) and Assured British Meat. In future, as and when FABBLs 20,000-plus members are inspected, they will also receive automatic ABM certification.

According to Ben Gill, NFU president, thats good news for farmers. The union was pleased that ABM had stuck to its pledge not to pile extra inspection costs onto the hard-pressed livestock sector. And he added that “substantial progress” was being made on moving towards single inspection of farms covering all assurance schemes.

Dr Cunningham said he was delighted the two assurance organisations had reached agreement on working together to administer production standards on farms. It was an encouraging first step towards the integration that ABM had set out to achieve. With the integration of FABBL, the task ahead was to develop the initiative with the other sectors of the meat industry, he said.

ABM, officially launched in January and chaired by former Scottish farm minister Lord Lindsay, anticipates releasing its standards for each link of the production chain, which FABBL will adopt, in the autumn.

For livestock producers, the standards will cover traceability, management, feed, housing and handling, and the use of animal health products and veterinary medicines.