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FSA puts meat industry contingency plans in place in response to coronavirus

New measures will be available for the FSA to implement in slaughterhouses to ensure consumer safety and animal welfare protections are maintained.

The FSA has prepared the next stage of its contingency plans for the meat industry in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) which will maintain consumer safety and continue to protect animal welfare and health.

We have been working closely with industry on additional measures which will increase our ability to continue to deliver official controls in slaughterhouses and game handling establishments should FSA staff resources be reduced.

The new measures follow the plan published on 7 April in England and 9 April in Wales by using existing legislation bolstered by the temporary legislation introduced by the European Commission following the outbreak.

The measures will be available across the UK for necessary use by each of the four nations, if required, and may be deployed in England and Wales from Monday 20 April onwards at the discretion of the FSA.

When deployed, they will be used in exceptional circumstances as a result of a reduction of FSA resources and are not expected to affect the majority of sites. Measures will be introduced on a strictly time-limited basis and will remain under review. 

Dr Colin Sullivan, Food Standards Agency COVID-19 Incident Director said:

“The coronavirus pandemic has impacted on the everyday lives of people across the country and the meat industry is no different. 

"These measures will allow the FSA the ability to respond in a pragmatic way to the challenges ahead while ensuring that food safety and animal welfare will continue to be protected.

“We also continue to thank food workers and businesses who are playing a crucial role in maintaining the nation’s food supply.”

The FSA continues to work closely with the UK’s industry as highlighted in a joint statement published in 9 April in response to the coronavirus outbreak and collaboratively, the FSA and industry have already implemented a number of measures to help prioritise essential activity to minimise the impact on businesses