HL Deb 05 July 1999 vol 603 cc69-70WA
Lord Stanley of Alderley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether local authority food safety law enforcement officers who are dealing with a complaint from a member of the public about unfit meat where the nature or condition of the meat is such that it would be reasonable to assume that the cause of the unfitness was or should have been apparent at the time the carcass was inspected in the slaughterhouse, are empowered to enter the slaughterhouse from which that meat originated in order to check whether the control systems in place were and are adequate, in the context of a due diligence defence being offered by the seller of the meat; and whether they are empowered, in carrying out their investigations, to check the effectiveness of Meat Hygiene Service personnel and their procedures; and [HL3231]

Whether local authority food safety law enforcement officers are empowered to enter slaughterhouses with a view to checking the standards of meat processing and supervision, in the course of investigations into outbreaks of food poisoning, where there are reasonable suspicions that the sources of contamination may reside in slaughterhouses. [HL3232]

Baroness Hayman

An authorised officer of a food authority has the power to enter a slaughterhouse to ascertain whether there have been any contraventions of the Food Safety Act 1990, and to take action to ensure that food failing to comply with food safety requirements is dealt with appropriately. This would normally be done in close liaison with the Meat. Hygiene Service (MHS) and would take into account the controls operated by the MHS within the premises. Food authorities have no powers to check the effectiveness of MHS personnel or their procedures.