FSA on defensive over Chinese chicken scam

UK - The Food Standards Agency was last week accused of failing to tackle the illegal meat trade as efforts continued to track suspect meat distributed by a coldstore in Northern Ireland.

A senior enforcement officer involved in previous investigations told the Guardian the FSA was failing to keep track of illegal meat traders.

The unnamed officer said: ‘These names keep cropping up again and again and yet there’s no central proactive investigation. It’s left to individual local authorities, which don’t necessarily know what’s happening in other areas.’

The FSA rejected the claims and said it had introduced a number of measures in the last few years to help local authorities combat the illegal meat trade.

A spokesperson said: ‘A fighting fund was set up in 2003 to help with resource intensive investigations. [We have] also established an illegal meat task force, with 23 enforcement officers specially trained and on-call to help any investigations, including this current ongoing investigation in Northern Ireland.’ The task force monitored illegal activity, he added, acting as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the agency.

The Eurofreeze coldstore was raided last month after it was linked to an illegal shipment of chicken from China, intercepted in Belfast. Officials are currently trying to trace all meat from the shipment.

Source: Environmental Health News
calendar icon 8 December 2005
clock icon 1 minute read
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