§ Ms Blears
(holding answer 4 March 2003]: I am advised on matters of food safety by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
In response to a public consultation on FSA proposals to require the staining or sterilisation of `high risk' poultry by-products, carried out between December 2001 and January 2002, a number of representations were received from enforcement organisations and consumer groups in support of compulsory staining or sterilisation of 'low risk' animal by-products. At the same time representations were also received from businesses and industry organisations that were opposed to the compulsory staining or sterilisation of 'low risk' by-products.
Following this consultation, the FSA Board reviewed the arguments for and against the staining or sterilisation of 'low risk' animal by-products. The Board concluded that 'low risk' animal by-products should remain outside the requirements for staining/sterilisation, as this would be disproportionate, and that little public health benefit would be achieved.
More recently, the FSA has received further representations from two local authorities in support of a requirement to stain low risk' animal by-products.