UK Food Standards Authority (FSA) allegedly systematically hoodwinked by UK meat supplier into passing inspections

This has been described as a “rotten meat scandal” in The Times, which could lead to Defra taking charge of the Food Standards Authority in the UK.

FSA hoodwinked by meat supplier employees
FSA hoodwinked by meat supplier employees. Image: MikeB

An investigation by Farmer’s Weekly claimed that a UK meat supplier systematically fooled the FSA into passing inspections at its facilities. They did this for years. Allegedly they passed off thousands of tonnes of foreign meat for British every week. They flouted basic hygiene standards and some of the meat was rotten.

It is alleged that employees of this unnamed meat supplier said they would delay unannounced inspections by giving the inspectors a cup of tea which gave them time behind the scenes to make things look good. In doing this they avoided breaking the law it is claimed.

Also, the magazine claims that the company concerned would buy a small quantity of certified British meat and mix it with cheaper foreign meat. They would use the traceable information from the UK produce.

The supplier is used by supermarkets and restaurants. They can’t be named for legal reasons and are subject to a criminal investigation.

Thérèse Coffey, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has stated in the House of Commons that the FSA may lose their responsibilities and the task handed over to the Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs to prevent mislabelling and rotten meat entering the UK market. Sir Robert Goodwill, chairman of the environment, Food and rural affairs committee said that the FSA had been “misled and hoodwinked”.

Andrew Quinn, deputy head of the FSA’s National Food Crime Unit said that the meats had come from South America and Europe and that they were carrying out a criminal investigation into how a British supplier labelled produce from these countries as British.

Comment: for me, an outsider, it seems to me that the FSA inspectors were lazy. Lazy enough to conduct a supposedly unannounced inspection in order to make it accurate and realistic but then throw away all the advantage gained by agreeing to sit down with the employees for a chat, a doughnut and a cup of tea while colleagues scampered around out of sight to hide all their misdeeds and make it all look legal and hunky-dory.

Sounds like the workings of a British agency to me. The country has become lazy.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful

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