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15 February 2013
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) and Trading Standards Institute (TSI), whose members are environmental health practitioners (EHPs) and trading standards officers (TSOs) working on the frontline of food safety, are awaiting the outcome today of the first phase of testing in connection with the discovery of horse DNA in processed beef products.
Environmental health officers and trading standards officers across the country have stepped up to the challenge of fulfilling the urgent sampling and inspection requests from the Food Standards Agency.
Within a week of action nearly all requested sampling has been completed and testing results have begun to come through.
Having reflected on the issues surrounding this matter, the CIEH and TSI:
- believe that even if it is proved criminality is behind the fraudulent adulteration of meat on the market, this DOES NOT relieve manufacturers and retailers of their legal duty and responsibility to produce and sell food that is safe and labelled accurately
- call upon the national and devolved Governments to make good resources lost through budgetary cuts in order that local authorities can investigate suspected wrong-doing through planned and ad hoc food sampling
- draw attention to the vital work of regulatory enforcement performed by environmental health practitioners (EHPs), port health inspectors (PHIs) and trading standards officers (TSOs) in protecting health while food is in preparation, on sale or in transit
- warn that the cuts in local government funding are having an increasingly damaging impact on the capability of local authorities to maintain sufficient competent, qualified health professionals ‘on the front line’ and this should urgently reviewed
- invite a national debate on the plight of the poor and most vulnerable in our society who are especially at risk from the high salt, sugar and saturated fat content associated with many ‘budget’ processed foods