Scottish Government and FSA Discussions on Horse Meat Incident

Key stakeholders of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Scottish Government met on the 11th of February to discuss the ongoing horse meat incident.
This comes after horse DNA in beef products on sale in Britain and Ireland was found, causing certain companies to withdraw its stock.

Representatives from the Food Standards Agency in Scotland, Scottish Government Ministers, Local Authorities, representatives from the Environmental Health profession and representatives from the food industry attended and were updated on the food standards inspections being carried out in all approved meat processing facilities in Scotland; of which local authorities are undertaking and FSA in Scotland is coordinating.

At today’s meeting there was also a further commitment to work closely together in ensuring our food businesses are compliant with food standard requirements and that consumers are not misled about the food they purchase.

Charles Milne, Director of the FSA, explained that, “whilst there is no evidence to suggest there is a risk to public health, the FSA has ensured that businesses supplying public institutions with meat products are included in actions that are underway in Scotland and across the UK more widely.”
Minister for Public Health, Michael Matheson, felt reassured that the FSA are working closely with suppliers and caterers. He stated, “I would reiterate that there continues to be no evidence of any implications for human health at this time.”

However, the recent focus on food quality has sparked discussion; as Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead, said, “People are now asking about where the food on their plate is coming from and they’re taking more of an interest in the supply chain.  Scotland has short supply chains and farmers with traceability systems for their meat products through the Scotch label.”

The Cabinet Secretary then continued to relate, “this is why many customers are realising they can trust local sources and the Scotch label when buying meat – we are already hearing anecdotal reports suggesting an uplift at many local butchers of around 20-25 per cent.”

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