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Diane Abbott MP, Shadow Health Minister, slams government over shocking new report on contaminated British meat

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13 Apr 2011
Diane Abbott MP, the Shadow Minister for Public Health, has blasted the government over a shocking new report that indicates that a decline in standards amongst meat hygiene inspectors and a lack of regulation has left the UK on the brink of a major health crisis.

The frequency of parasites, diseases and fecal contamination on British meat has increased to a level that leaves Britain vulnerable to major e-coli outbreaks and other health crises, a new survey of meat hygiene inspectors reveals.

The latest survey blows the whistle on the risks to public health from wayward meat plants

The report reveals that standards are getting worse and there is a rising incidence of food poisoning.

Ms Abbott, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, said:

‘This survey reveals that there are rising levels of contamination in meat and too few meat inspectors. I believe that this is a real public health risk.

Furthermore, the Food Standard Agency is pressing to allow abattoirs to inspect themselves.

Nobody expects cafes and restaurants to inspect themselves for hygiene standards, so why should abattoirs be able to? British families are being put at risk.

This new survey reveals that 42% of meat hygiene inspectors think there is not enough staff to carry out inspection. And that 93 % believe that food standards agency is not independent of the industry.

In 2008, there was an outbreak of e-coli in Wales, when 5 year-old Mason Jones died. In his report, Professor Pennington said ‘a deliberate decision was taken by the FSA not to enforce the legislative requirement.’ There was an abundant knowledge amongst the staff that it was a failing abattoir. Despite this knowledge, the Abattoir was allowed to continue to function in breach of the legislative requirements.’

Late last year the coroner, Mr Bowen reported on the death and recommended that an urgent review be carried of the "mechanism for the enforcement of food hygiene regulation", that inspections of abattoirs should take place more regularly and that compliance with food hygiene regulations should be more strictly enforced.

I believe an urgent review is long overdue and I am calling on the government to set up a review before we have another outbreak of e-coli.’

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