31 July 1997
MAFF crackdown on meat plants
THE Ministry of Agriculture is to crack down from tomorrow on meat plants suspected of illegally exporting beef in defiance of the European Unions worldwide ban.
It plans to adopt new powers in the autumn to deal with unhygienic premises suspected of endangering public health.
Dr Jack Cunningham, the agriculture minister, said existing powers to close meat operators on suspicion of illegal exports were not “sufficient or clear enough”. He will table an order in the House of Commons to give himself the new powers.
He said the meat industry had to get its act together. He was commenting on allegations in a Granada Television World in Action programme last week that meat at a Tesco supplier was packed for sale after falling on the floor.
He is also dissatisfied with his powers to act against abattoirs and processing plants suspected of breaking meat hygiene regulations. New powers would be designed to make it easier for inspectors to stop a processing line or a whole plant.