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Will People start to die over Food Testing Cuts | Trading Standards Lawyer

Will People start to die over Food Testing Cuts | Trading Standards Lawyer

The Elliot report following the Horsegate scandal was discussed in Parliament on 27th March 2014. MPs were clearly concerned that cuts in government spending has resulted in a severe reduction in food safety testing, which could have a catastrophic effect on consumers health. 

Julie Hilling, MP for Bolton West, asked a question in respect of progress in implementation of the recommendations of the Elliot Review of assurance of Food Supply Networks. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (George Eustice) made a statement to the House in response, saying,

'They were interim recommendations; Professor Elliott’s final report is expected later this spring. We are discussing the interim report with interested parties, and we will carefully consider the supporting analysis in his final report before making a formal response.'

This evasive answer was followed up by Ms Hilling who replied.

'People need to be confident that what is on the packet is what is in the packet. The Prime Minister’s machinery of government changes in 2010 created confusion of responsibility between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Food Standards Agency and the Department of Health. Will the Minister acknowledge that the Prime Minister’s short-sighted changes weakened consumer protection and were misguided?' 

Eustice responded by saying that this was a failure of enforcement, not policy and it would be corrected by an increase of funding to £2.2 milion, to develop a national food sampling programme. When pressed futher he explained that this increase of £600k together with unannounced inspections of meat cutting plants would help reassure consumers.

But Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) (Lab) wouldnt let go:

'Answers to recent questions that I tabled show a massive drop in food testing under this Government: testson food composition are down by 48%, and those on food labelling and presentation by 53%.Does the Minister share Professor Chris Elliott’s concern that cuts to food testing and inspection could compromise the safety of the food that people eat to such an extent that “people start to die”?

Eustice replied saying that he wasnt sure that he shared that analysis. The government seems to have already quietly shelved the Elliot report which identifed that there was a massive gap in the range of proseccuting authorities, none of which were properly tasked and funded to tackle the serious issue of Food Fraud. Click here to read a full account of the report on this blog,  4th March 2014.

For any advice and assistance for issues like these please do call Jeremy on 0844 2722322 or submit a comment below. Jeremy will come back to you at the earliest convenience.

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