Tuesday, January 24, 2012

‘Cause for concern’ meat plants will be named and shamed - FSA

Cause for concern’ meat plants will be named and shamed - FSA
By Mark Astley, 24-Jan-2012- Will Kosher certifiers follow suit?

UK meat plants considered a ‘cause for concern’ based on audit reports will be named and shamed as part of a new Food Standards Agency (FSA) scheme, it has revealed.
The list, which will be updated on a weekly basis, currently holds the name of eight UK premises including slaughterhouses and cutting plants. The publication follows an agreement by the FSA Board to publish this type of information as part of its on-going transparency commitments. The FSA categorises an establishment as a ‘cause for concern’ based on a food businesses compliance with regulations and its most recent audit scores – taking into account hygienic production, environmental hygiene and HACCP.

“These establishments must put in place improvements to ensure required standards are met,” said the agency’s website.

Commercial consequences-
British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) director Stephen Rossides told FoodProductionDaily.com that although the scheme serves a purpose, there could be commercial consequences. “The FSA is an organisation that has long promoted transparency. It publishes all and any information it has, whether it is on inspection audits or those establishments that have become a cause for concern,” said Rossides.

“It does serve a purpose because no one wants to be on the ‘cause for concern’ list. It works as an incentive, but it could have commercial consequences.” “We at the British Meat Processing Association (BMPA) are keen to increase standards in all meat plants, and if this is the best way to do it, so be it.”

Highlights concern -
Publication of the ‘cause for concern’ list comes less than a week after audit reports from more than 200 meat establishment were published by the FSA.
The main aims of the audits are to make sure that these plants are complying with food law requirements and ensure they meet public health standards.
“Publication of the cause for concern list is our latest commitment to presenting our work in the public domain. We think it’s important to highlight plants that continue to give us concern,” said FSA CEO Tim Smith.

“If our inspectors decided that hygiene standards in a plant are so poor that public health could be at imminent risk, we would immediately stop that plant from operating. However, for those businesses that could improve quickly by following our advice, we hope that publication of this list will push them to raise their game and get off the list.”

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