THE FOOD Standards Agency has started a six-week consultation on new rules for pig meat inspections which will come into force from June 2014.
The new rules are set to be introduced across the European Union and will help official meat inspectors target potential public health risks and provide a more proportionate, risk-based inspection regime.
The visual inspection of pigs will be the main focus of the new rules, ensuring that the health checks are carried out in a way that reduces the risk of bacteria being spread around the meat.
Hands on inspections will still be carried out but only in certain circumstances where visual inspection of the abattoir or information from the farm has raised potential concerns. This is because scientific evidence has shown that hands-on inspection, where both the carcass and offal is handled, can spread harmful bacteria more easily.
There will also be stricter rules for salmonella control and more risk-based testing for the parasite Trichinella.
The consultation runs until the 6th May 2014, and will review the practical application of the changes in the UK as well as the costs, benefits and wider impacts for stakeholders.
Steve Wearne, Director of Policy at the FSA, said: “The current system needs modernising. Our meat hygiene controls were developed more than a century ago to tackle the health concerns of the day. A modernised inspection system will protect consumers better and be more proportionate to slaughterhouses that control risks effectively.
'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.”