Article Text

A policy for a unified meat service

Abstract

Unification of meat hygiene control in Britain would lead to an improved service in terms of hygiene and welfare and would ensure continuity from the Minister through to the abattoir meat hygiene team. This in turn would increase consumer confidence in British meat both at home and abroad, and would enable compliance with EC meat hygiene requirements for harmonisation beyond 1992. The level of veterinary supervision and control required throughout the meat plant process has not yet been fully determined by the EC. However, the BVA envisages a team approach headed by a veterinarian with the level of direct veterinary involvement tapering from farm to table. BVA envisages an agency operating along the lines of the current Veterinary Medicines Directorate, with a similar identity but relating to meat hygiene and the welfare of animals at slaughter. Such a unified system could operate more efficiently and more economically than smaller separate organisations. Such a system would ensure even application of standards, avoid duplication of activities, and save money by efficient use of staff and resources. The structure would also allow for better salaries and career prospects than smaller local authority units can provide. This would lead to recruitment and commitment of more highly qualified staff. The purpose of the reorganisation would be to establish a meat quality control service which would ensure that meat and meat products supplied to retail outlets are hygienically produced to standards set down by the EC. Such a service would replace the variable standards of local authority departments and enable MAFF to discharge its EC responsibility as the 'competent authority'.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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