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The Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland Boards respond positively to the UK-wide meat Review

The Boards of the UK’s two food regulators held their first joint meeting today, 17 October 2018, in Edinburgh following the publication of the review which makes recommendations aimed at improving compliance and assurance in the UK meat processing industry.

Following a discussion welcoming the review and the stakeholder engagement over the previous six months, each Board fully endorsed the improvements for their respective countries.

The importance of the review was stressed for managing the culture of the industry and shifting attitudes and behaviours across the UK meat sector to keep consumer interests at the forefront.

It was highlighted that there is an onus on the industry as well as regulators to be ambitious in implementing the plans, and collaborative work will continue to achieve this. 

Throughout the discussion, the Boards recognised that the majority of the UK meat sector does act responsibly and that many food businesses go above and beyond regulatory requirements.

The organisations will continue to work closely to develop a common UK approach and will develop their own detailed implementation plans, which will be subject to oversight by their respective Boards.

Heather Hancock, the Food Standards Agency’s Chair, said:

'Over the last two years, we have seen several food safety and authenticity incidents arise in meat cutting plants and cold stores.

'Events like these jeopardise public confidence in the safety and authenticity of meat processed in the UK. They led us to commission an in-depth review to identify how the operation and regulation of this sector could be improved. 

'We believe that the findings of the review, supported by leaders of the meat industry, will help restore and sustain public trust.

'We will be seeking the continued commitment of the industry to work with us, as regulators, to implement the recommendations and deliver on the expectations of the public.'

Ross Finnie, Food Standards Scotland’s Chair, said:

'We’ve been fully involved at every stage of this UK-wide review and the two Boards unanimously welcomed the review and endorsed its recommendations following comprehensive research and stakeholder engagement.

'The safety of consumers is paramount to Food Standards Scotland and all of those who have contributed to the review, and this will continue into the implementation phase.

'This agreed approach will provide assurance that the meat industry and regulators in Scotland will work together to deliver the world class high standards expected.'

A recording of the joint Board session on the review is available on our website.

The final report and board paper can be accessed at the meat cutting plant and cold store review page.