New meat inspection programme gets thumbs up

Successful trials of a new meat inspection programme have resulted in the thumbs up from major overseas regulators, reducing costs for meat exporters, but not at the expense of food safety.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has received advice from regulatory authorities in Europe and the United States, two of the industry’s major export destinations, that the proposed new meat inspection programme meets their requirements and can be used for products exported to these markets.

The proposed programme is based on successful trial work (profiled in Food NZ, Dec 2010/Jan 2011) and would allow for fully trained meat company staff to carry out some non-food safety aspects of meat inspections, known in the industry as ‘suitability’ or quality aspects.

Official government inspectors will continue to carry out food safety-related functions.

MPI, the Meat Industry Association (MIA) and AsureQuality have formed a team to develop a plan to implement the new inspection programme. This will require some changes to MPI standards, on which MPI will be consulting.

This article appeared in Food NZ magazine (August/September 2012).

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