COMMONS

MPs to debate lessons from recent food contamination scandals

10 October 2013

The Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee will debate two of its recent reports on Contamination of Beef Products and Food Contamination on Thursday 17 October in Westminster Hall, Palace of Westminster at 3:00 pm.

Speaking about the debate, Anne McIntosh, Chair of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee said:

 “We believe the Food Standards Agency should be given stronger powers to compel local authorities and industry to carry out regular food sampling. At present the FSA may only request such actions and there has been a marked decrease in food sampling in the last two years.”

 “The Committee also expressed concern about the reduction in the number of public analysts and laboratories in the UK equipped and able to carry out the kind of food sampling required.”

 “The Committee’s reports note that although the incidence of contamination was small, it was widespread across the European Union. This suggests a complex network of traders and processers acting fraudulently to deceive consumers and retailers. The Committee is dismayed at the slow pace of investigations, especially the lack of prosecutions and exemplary penalties for fraud.”

 "While the Committee agrees Ministers are responsible for policy, the confusion arising from the change of responsibilities in 2010 must be addressed. There must be greater clarity about where responsibility lies for responding to incidents of adulteration and the changes made in 2010 must be reconsidered so that the FSA is one step removed from Defra and the Department of Health.”

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