UK - A call has been made to the European Commission to take a lead on achieving a general global agreement for the acceptance of the European-wide visual meat inspection.
Changes to the meat inspection system were introduced last year, adopting a more risk based approach and a non-intrusive approach, that only allowed incisions and palpation after a problem had been found.
The inspection also calls for specific tests to detect salmonella and trichinella, which have been phased in over the last year.
However, while the new inspection methods have become law across Europe some third countries including China are demanding traditional meat inspection tests for exports of pig meat.
“There is a need for traditional inspection methods where countries do not accept visual inspection,” Food Standards Agency meat hygiene team policy leader James Ridsdale told a recent seminar on information flow in the meat chain.
“This is causing a dichotomy in the inspection.
“Third country exports are a big question. We need a general agreement for acceptance and we need the European Commission to take a lead on that.”
He added that while some countries in Europe who are already trading with China have had their visual inspection schemes accepted there was concern in the UK, that the new system would not be accepted for the UK by China.
A report and study on the new system of inspection conducted by IPSOS Mori is expected to be published by the end of the year.
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