Companies caught in DNA tests represent a tiny minority of the meat industry
A freedom of information request to the Food Standards Authority (FSA) has revealed that products from 22 meat processing companies have been found to contain ingredients other than those stated on the label.
To put this into context those companies represent less than 0.25 percent of the more than 10,000 meat processing and manufacturing companies in the UK.
What is very encouraging is that the detection and enforcement processes that are in place to protect consumers from this kind of fraudulent activity are working. The bad apples are getting weeded out and brought to justice.
As in most industries and professions, there is a minority of unscrupulous operators that try to circumvent the system for their own gain. From accountancy and banking through to construction and healthcare, no industry is immune to this.
The British Meat Processors Association is committed to helping any company that wants to stay up to date with the latest legislation and guidelines. Nick Allen, BMPA’s Chief Executive explains: “Membership of BMPA is voluntary and shows a company’s commitment to upholding the standards and best practices that we promote. It also signals a willingness to put right problems when they occur.
“Unfortunately, there are a small number rogue operators in the industry that seek to profit from deliberately substituting cheaper ingredients in their products. Often this kind of business will actively avoid involvement with organisations like BMPA and the food industry regulators.
“Any businesses that have slipped in their standards, for whatever reason, should be working with organisations like BMPA, the Food Standards Authority and Red Tractor to let us help them achieve and maintain full compliance. Any businesses that break the rule and try to dupe consumers can expect to be found out and brought to justice through the system of targeted, intelligence-led inspections and enforcement actions.”
Overall, the system is working. The British meat industry has some of the most rigorous quality standards in the world, and it continues to uncover the wrong-doers effectively. However, there is always room for improvement. What we would like to see is more funding to further increase the capabilities of Local Authorities and the FSA. We should also make sure that the 99.75 percent of companies that haven’t done anything wrong are not unfairly judged.
The British Meat Processors Association represents some of the largest companies working in the British meat industry. Our members are responsible for supplying fresh meat and meat products to retailers, restaurants and food service companies both here and overseas.
Our Associate members also include some of the UKs largest supermarkets, retailers and ingredient suppliers, creating a unique forum for members of all stripes to work together to raise standards and push innovation in the meat sector.