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Slaughterhouses: Inspections

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 157142, tabled on 25 June 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has received complaints from abattoir businesses on the effect on their businesses of the conduct of Food Standards Agency inspectors.

Answered on

3 July 2018

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has a comprehensive complaints procedure in place. Complaints will ordinarily be addressed at local level in the first instance which is an arrangement designed to achieve a resolution at the closest point to delivery. Where a complainant is not satisfied with the local response they can refer the matter to the FSA’s Complaints Co-ordinator who will re-examine the case from an independent perspective. Thereafter, if the complainant remains dissatisfied they can refer their case to the FSA’s Chief Executive for final review.

Each year the FSA receives a small number of complaints from abattoir businesses about the conduct of employed or contracted Meat Hygiene Inspectors and/or Official Veterinarians. Set within a context of the FSA having a permanent presence in such establishments the number of complaints received each year is low and typically involve matters relating to regulatory decisions, how such officials have interacted with the complainant, timekeeping or other.

Between January 2017 and May 2018, the FSA processed 12 official complaints made by abattoir businesses about the conduct of employed or contracted Meat Hygiene Inspectors or Official Veterinarians. Of these, four cases were upheld or partially upheld and two cases are ongoing.

The FSA is not aware of any such complaints being made directly to the Secretary of State for Health in 2017 or the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care since January 2018.