FSA agrees to external review into horse meat scandal

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Hazard analysis and critical control points

FSA agrees to external review of horse meat handling
FSA agrees to external review of horse meat handling
The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has agreed to an external review in response to the adulteration of processed beef products with horse and pig meat and DNA.

The findings of the review will be presented to the Board at its open meeting on 4 June with a formal report to be submitted to the FSA by the end of June for publication which will feed into a larger Government review.

The review will be headed by Professor Pat Troop, vice chair of Cambridge University hospitals, with a secretariat provided by the FSA.

Unrestricted access

“The reviewer will have unrestricted access to all documents, emails and other records held by the FSA relevant to the scope of the review,”​ said the agency.

“The reviewer will also have access to FSA Board members and officials, and the secretariat will aim to secure access to any external people or organisations with views or information relevant to the scope of the review.”

The European Commission published tests results on horse DNA and phenylbutazone (bute) this week as part of testing costing an estimated €2.5m.

Less than 5% of testing products contained horse meat and 0.5% were found to be contaminated with bute, according to the figures from 11 February to 4 April.

HACCP: Flouted or failed?

Meanwhile, a UK firm that supplies food grade oils has questioned whether the hazard control points process has failed or whether it was flouted in the scandal.

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) regulations plays a role in the use of food grade heat transfer fluid (HTF), sold by Global Heat Transfer.

"HACCP is a recognised way of making sure that the food safety hazards in your business are being managed responsibly, and of showing that this is being done day-in, day-out​," said Dr Chris Wright, group head of R&D at Global Heat Transfer.

"It is a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product.

"We have yet to establish whether the HACCP process was ignored or whether the process itself failed. According to European Community Food Hygiene Regulations, HACCP is a tool to assess hazards and establish control systems that focus on prevention rather than relying mainly on end-product testing.

"However, it was this very end-product testing that exposed the abuse. The question is, did HACCP itself fail or was it deliberately flouted by the food supply chain."

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