MAFF failed to police abattoirs

30 September 1998

MAFF failed to police abattoirs

THE Ministry of Agricultures failed to police abattoirs, leaving regulations designed to control the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) open to abuse, the BSE inquiry was told yesterday (Tuesday).

Peter Carrigan, a consultant technologist to the meat industry, said that “the regulations might not have existed at all” given the effectiveness of the ministry inspectors and policing of abattoirs and rendering plants.

He explained in a letter dated 12 June, 1995 to Keith Meldrum, the chief veterinary officer, how regulations could be breached. “Put simply, people have cheated, and will continue to do so because the legislation, updated though it may be has gaps in it large enough to accommodate a horse and cart”.

In his reply, Mr Meldrum rejected as “not practical in law” the recommendations to make meat inspectors responsible for staining specified bovine material (SBM).

Mr Carrigan later said: “Had the situation been better policed by the ministry, people would have taken more cognisance of the legislation and realised how serious the situation was.”

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