Scams spark action on unfit poultry

By John Farrant

THE poultry industry will co-operate with the Food Standards Agencys plans to tackle unfit poultry scandals.

The Agency has responded to two scams revealed earlier this year and in 2000, of unfit poultry meat going back into the food chain, with a seven-point plan .

But although it will co-operate, the British Poultry Council stressed that poultry meat processing plants were not implicated in the scams.

The offenders were individuals in companies responsible for collecting the waste by-products for rendering or delivery to petfood manufacturers.

Among the FSA proposals is the staining of high-risk, unfit poultry meat, such as dead-on-arrivals and rejects, which the BPC supports.

But the BPC was concerned that staining of all waste by-products would devalue them as well as adding to costs.

Instead, the plan takes the preferred route of tighter controls over the disposal of 750,000 tonnes a year on which a waste food taskforce, will report.

Some 37,000 tonnes will have to be stained at a cost of 1.1m.

The BPC will be represented on the taskforce, which could call for legislation, improved traceability and a code of practice on the handling and disposal of animal products and independent auditing of companies.

Support for the plan was qualified by BPC chief executive Peter Bradnock: “The poultry meat industry will co-operate fully with the Food Standards Agency proposals to stain high risk unfit poultry meat and with the development of a Code of Practice.

“We need to know more about the proposed independent audits and how these might fit with the existing enforcement responsibilities of the MHS, the SVS and local authorities.

“We must be sure that measures are practicable, that they address the specific problem, and will succeed in maintaining high consumer confidence in Britains most popular meat.”

An EU regulation is due next year covering this whole area, but only requiring identification by staining after rendering.

The FSA intends to be ahead on staining, pointing out that where the frauds have occurred is between the poultry plants and rendering in Rotherham and (allegedly) Amber Valley.

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