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Fears of ‘dirty meat’ entering food chain after 25% of abattoirs fail tests

An investigation by The Observer newspaper reveals ‘Fears of ‘dirty meat’ entering food chain after 25% of abattoirs fail tests

Audits carried out at more than 300 abattoirs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland find major hygiene failings in more than a quarter of meat plants

One in four slaughterhouses are failing to take basic hygiene precautions to stop contaminated meat reaching high street butchers and supermarkets.

An analysis of government audits carried out at more than 300 abattoirs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland identified major hygiene failings in more than a quarter of the meat plants. The failings could expose consumers to serious food poisoning illnesses such as E coli, salmonella or campylobacter.

The investigation by the Observer and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has also revealed that official Food Standards Agency records were falsified to conceal true levels of meat contamination at an English abattoir. A whistleblower said data relating to contamination of carcasses was misrecorded to mask poor hygiene practices at the plant, potentially allowing dirty meat to enter the food chain.

The most recent audit reports were analysed for 323 abattoirs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. One key test that slaughterhouses have to pass is that “all handling and processes from slaughtering to despatch are done in a way that avoids the contamination of meat and offal entering the food chain”.

Out of the abattoirs audited, 86 did not meet that benchmark – with “major” hygiene breaches found. The hygiene breaches were logged during inspections by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). They include instances of carcasses coming into contact with the factory floor, often dirty with the detritus of slaughter, cutting equipment not sterilised or washed adequately, and meat splashed with dirty water potentially containing faecal matter.

Read the full article  The Observer newspaper : ‘Fears of ‘dirty meat’ entering food chain after 25% of abattoirs fail tests

Related links

The Observer newspaper

Food Standards Agency

 

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