Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Meat Inspection

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2014 Local Government Service Group Conference
21 February 2014

Conference notes that the Food Standards Agency is too close to the food industry without being sufficiently robust in protecting independent meat inspection, despite the recent and ongoing horsemeat scandal.

Conference recognises that de-regulation and privatisation is the preferred direction of travel of our government and the European Union (EU). This was clearly shown in the recent intense lobbying by British civil servants in the EU alongside the meat industry to end the physical inspection of pigs post-mortem.

Conference believes that within a decade, there will be very few independent, state employed meat inspectors in employment and this poses a risk to public health and food wholesomeness.

Conference calls upon the Service Group Executive to campaign and fight against these changes to the delivery of meat inspection, along with the enhancement of animal welfare and consumer protection by:

1)Supporting an organising and recruitment approach to sustain our workplace density and build on our negotiating strength.

2)Developing a campaign to highlight our members’ views about the long-term costs of cutting front-line meat inspection jobs and eroding of pay and conditions.

3)Negotiating an ‘in-house’ approach to the duties of Official Veterinarians (OV), many of whom are currently outsourced to private contractors.

4)Improving the working lives of migrant workers – many of whom are our members – currently employed by private contractors as OVs on poor terms and conditions.

5)Engaging with the public on the role of meat inspectors and OVs in protecting and informing them on how their food is produced.