January 16 - 22 2005 ~ Food Standards Agency says it would be a breach of EU law to create a new offence against the £1bn a year criminal meat trade.
In answer to the important Parliamentary Question from Charles Hendry on January 12th 2005 "... what punishments may be imposed upon those found guilty of selling or trading in dirty, diseased and illegal cuts of meat..?", Miss Melanie Johnson said that the ".. Food Standards Agency has, with its partners in other Government Departments and enforcement bodies, a wide-ranging action plan to tackle meat crime."(See below)See Dirty Meat pages in full
Important professional and trade associations, such the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) and the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) have called for new legislation to deal with serious food crime. Among others sceptical of the "action-plan" is Dr Yunes Teinez, whose response is important. However, the Food Standards Agency has resisted, arguing that to introduce a new offence would "breach European Community law". The Meat Hygiene service which is an executive Agency of the Food Standards Agency cannot be regarded as above suspicion, while what we saw in last September's Dispatches programme suggests that corruption and collusion can be found in very high places, that agencies get government money to check on safety and hygiene but do not do so. How many of the stakeholders being consulted by the FSA have, as their first priority, the health of the nation - rather than that of their pockets or their careers ?