UK Pig Inspection Rule Changes Open For Public Comment
In June of this year, the European Union will introduce new rules for pig meat inspections designed to minimize the risk of bacterial contamination on pork.
The United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency announced last week that it is requesting comments on the practical application of changes required by the rules.
These comments are being solicited from food business operators in FSA-approved pig meat establishments, pig farmers, and officials working in pig meat establishments. Comments on costs, benefits and wider impacts for stakeholders will also be accepted.
“The current system needs modernizing,” said Steve Wearne, director of policy at FSA, in a statement. “Our meat hygiene controls were developed more than a century ago to tackle the health concerns of the day. A modernized inspection system will protect consumers better and be more proportionate to slaughterhouses that control risks effectively.”
Wearne continued, “We want to ensure the new controls are proportionate and take into account the views of producers and consumers of pork. We look forward to hearing all of the views that come out of this consultation.”
The new rules are designed to help official veterinarians and meat inspectors better target public health risks in pig slaughter facilities and to control risks effectively. The new rules will focus on the visual inspection of all pigs to reduce the risk of bacteria being spread around the meat, FSA’s statement states.
Current practices utilizing hands-on inspection can result in the spread of harmful bacteria when a pig carcass or offal is handled and cut. Hands-on inspection will be carried out only where information from the farm or visual inspection at the slaughterhouse has identified potential concerns about an animal.
In addition to changes in inspection, stricter rules for Salmonella control and more risk-based testing for Trichinella, a parasite, will be implemented.
Responses to the consultations are required by May 6 in all U.K. countries except Scotland. Scottish stakeholders must respond in writing by April 28.