The Guardian ran an excellent lead story last week on the impact EU changes to food inspection could have on food safety. This is an important issue in Scotland as the Food (Scotland) Bill is being considered by Parliament.
They report that our inspectors have issued a grim warning that more infected animals could enter the food chain because of a shakeup in the inspection process which, means some of the millions of animals they reject each year as unfit for human consumption could still reach Our food plates. Quite astonishing in light of the horsemeat scandal.
Figures collected from UK factories show that millions of carcasses carrying parasites such as tapeworm and animals infected with pneumonia, septicaemia, peritonitis and tumours were removed from the food chain by official inspectors between 2012 and 2014.
UNISON's Heather Wakefield, said: "The UK government's agenda will result in food that repulses us being dished up on our plates. Most people do not know that there are a small group of meat inspectors and vets that keep them safe from harmful and repulsive additions to our sausages, Sunday roasts and beef pies. They work in some of the most awful conditions in blood and animal discharges every day. They are always the first to come under attack, not only from the food business operators, but also from our government."
Labour has supported our campaign. Shadow food minister, Huw Irranca-Davies, said: "The government need to explain why they are seeking to weaken consumer protection and the wholesomeness of produce, barely a year after the horsemeat scandal. British consumers will be appalled at any risk of tapeworm, parasitic lungworms and diseased parts of animals ending up on their dinner plates at home, or in hospitals and schools."
The Scottish Parliament's Health Committee has issued a call for evidence on the Bill. UNISON Scotland will be highlighting these concerns to the committee.