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FSDF calls for tighter controls in food manufacturing and processing

Reading, UK: The Food Storage and Distribution Federation says that the UK has one of the most effective food traceability and identification processes in the world regarding storage and distribution but argues that these stringent rules do not cover procurement, manufacturing and processing.

FSDF’s comments come in the wake of the horsemeat scandal. FSDF points out that five or so years ago consignments of out of condition and unsafe meat, were discovered along with evidence of re-marking and re-labelling.

“These events caused significant changes in EU food traceability methods and the ability to map the journey from farm to fork,” says an FSDF statement. “As a result of these measures it was believed that such events would no longer be possible.”

“Tighter regulations and rigorous documentation were implemented to ensure that every stage in the chain was properly recorded. Consignments of meat products could now be traced across borders to ensure clear identification and demonstrate that food standards had been maintained. FSDF member companies, their customers and the Food Standards Agency, worked very hard to implement the most cost effective and transparent way to replicate this requirement within the UK and to demonstrate that products are kept in cool chain every step of the way.”

EU Regulations were reviewed and amended and the interpretation of how enforcement should be carried out was clarified with the involvement of the industry. “However this robust control process only covers the storage and distribution chain,’ warns the FSDF.

“Regrettably, it does not cover procurement, manufacturing and processing sectors, where it appears these kinds of public health scares have arisen. FSDF members, with their close relationship with meat trade customers, Defra and FSA, will continue to ensure that good quality meat, in the right condition and properly identified and labelled, will be delivered from abattoirs and markets to UK and European retail, wholesale and food service customers. Only in that way can consumer confidence be justifiably maintained. We look forward to help create a speedy resolution to the problems.”