Govt Agency to Use Pig Industry 'Origin' Database

UK - The Food Standards Agency is to use pig industry technology in a study to test that when pork is labelled "British" or "UK", it really is.
calendar icon 13 December 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

The measure was announced by environment secretary Owen Paterson as Defra published its interim report on Horsegate.

BPEX's SIRA (Stable Isotope Reference Analysis) database has already identified one labelling mistake and it is assumed by the industry that continued sampling by BPEX is underpinning the strong current demand for British pork — even though imported pork is much cheaper at present.

"The Food Standards Agency are testing a variety of food types and one of those is pork. They approached BPEX to see if we would allow them to use our SIRA database and we agreed," said BPEX director Mick Sloyan.

"It is probably one of the most developed of such databases around at the moment, and their request to use it is an endorsement of our investment in the technology."

Mr Paterson has announced a number of measures to prevent a repetition of Horsegate, including:

  • Unannounced inspections of meat cutting plants have increased, with 1,450 having taken place since January this year.
  • The food industry undertakes a rigorous testing programme to ensure food authenticity. For horsemeat alone, the results of 31,000 tests have been reported to the Food Standards Agency.
  • The Food Standards Agency is undertaking a study to test that products which are labelled as being from the UK are, in fact, from the UK.
  • The government has increased funding to £2 million to support local authorities' coordinated programme of food sampling.
  • The Food Standards Agency will lead further testing of beef products for horsemeat.
  • The Food Standards Agency is working with the European Commission and other member countries to establish a European Union-wide food fraud unit.
  • The Food Standards Agency is working with industry and the European Commission to identify further targeted sampling programmes and how they might be implemented.
  • The Food Standards Agency is developing a new Intelligence Hub to improve its capability to identify, and prevent, threats to food safety and integrity that are identified by expert analysis based on the approach to intelligence used by police.

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