Source: Food Standards Agency (FSA)

Recent media reports of contaminated meat do not give the complete picture on the condition of meat entering the food chain, or on the work done by the FSA to ensure that the meat we eat is safe.

Our Meat Hygiene Inspectors and Official Veterinarians inspect every red meat and poultry carcase for visible contamination - 99.57% of them pass the test. The remaining 0.43% is rejected and passed back to the food business, and they have to rectify the problem. This is the work that our staff do day in, day out, 365 days a year. If it doesn’t pass, then it does not get a health mark and it does not enter the human food chain.

Hygiene failures are not tolerated by the FSA, and we take robust enforcement action to ensure food businesses improve their procedures to prevent meat becoming contaminated in the first place. Ultimately if standards are not improving or the risk to public health is high enough, we take enforcement action up to and including taking away a premises’ approval to operate.  We have no plans to do away with real time meat inspection as it remains a crucial and integral part of the way in which we effectively administer the legal system of controls to assure the public that meat production complies with hygiene and animal welfare controls. 

We remain committed to exploring ways in which we can administer the system of controls in the most effective manner while maintaining the highest standards of hygiene and welfare. But any changes will only be made through collaboration and consultation with those affected, and ensuring that food is safe will always be at the heart of everything we do.