Food Law News - EU - 2012

FSA News Item, 3 July 2012

HYGIENE - UK FSA Response to EFSA poultry meat inspection opinion

The Food Standards Agency has welcomed the European Food Safety Authority’s recent scientific opinion on poultry meat inspection, which suggested that traditional poultry meat inspection may not be enough to fully address the most relevant biological hazards to public health.

In 2010 the European Commission asked the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to carry out risk assessments on the relevant hazards of poultry meat inspection to public health, animal health and welfare, and to advise on alternative approaches.

The EFSA opinion has highlighted that traditional poultry meat inspection does not enable the detection of the most important hazards to public health (campylobacter, salmonella and ESBL/AmpC gene-carrying bacteria), and recommends improvements to the current system.

The FSA has argued for some time that the current system of official meat controls does not address the most relevant meat-borne pathogens of today, which are microbiological and cannot be detected by the naked eye. In 2009 the Agency began a review of meat inspection, aimed at improving public health protection while delivering a more risk-based, effective and proportionate system for official controls on meat.

Overall, the FSA welcomes EFSA's work to improve public health and to provide the scientific basis for the modernisation of poultry meat inspection.

EFSA’s recommendations will be considered carefully by the FSA in the coming months. EFSA’s views, and the views of European member states, stakeholders and international trade partners, will be considered by the Commission before proposing changes to the current regulations.

This is a lengthy process and there will be no immediate changes to the current inspection regime.

The EFSA opinion on pig inspection was published in October 2011. Forthcoming opinions on other species are expected in 2013.

For related news item concerning the EFSA report, see:

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