Union wants FSA to more stringently enforce meat safety regulations

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UNISON is urging the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to make toxoplasmosis tests a routine part of meat inspection regimes, as new figures reveal that the infection is hitting up to 1,000 people every day, or more than 350,000 people every year.

Toxoplasmosis has damaging consequences for people of all ages and sexes, but can have particularly tragic consequences for pregnant women and their unborn child.  Meat inspectors, who work on production lines to help make sure meat is safe to eat, could routinely check lamb carcasses for toxoplasmosis as a part of their work.

UNISON is also calling on the FSA to beef up its inspection regime for tackling faecal contamination in meat. All too often, meat inspectors report that animals are not clean when they reach abattoirs, but the FSA is not taking tough enough action against suppliers.

Faecal contamination has particularly worrying implications for public health and can cause Salmonella and E.Coli. Abattoirs are responsible for producing clean carcasses free from faecal contamination, but all too often the emphasis is on producing carcasses as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Ian Adderley, UNISON national officer for meat inspectors, said: “Meat inspectors work tirelessly day in day out to make sure the meat on our plates is safe to eat. They could be at the frontline of cutting the number of toxoplasmosis cases in the UK. But all too often, when they report problems to the FSA it fails to act.

“Faecal contamination in meat poses a real public health risk, and our members tell us that contaminated meat is regularly making its way into the food chain.

“To protect public health we want the FSA to more stringently enforce meat safety regulations. They need to make checking for toxoplasmosis a regular part of meat inspection. They must also take the issue of faecal contamination seriously by supporting meat inspectors on production lines to stop contaminated meat making its way onto our plates.”


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