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UK supermarkets are the subject of an investigation into allegations that they have been selling “rotting meat” for years.
According to trade publication Farmer’s Weekly, up until at least 2020, a meat supplier—who has not been named for legal reasons—sold pork to our supermarkets with incorrect labels and occasionally with rotten meat.
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As a result, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) are now investigating the claims.
Andrew Quinn, deputy head of the FSA’s National Food Crime Unit, said: “The FSA’s National Food Crime Unit is carrying out a criminal investigation into how one supplier allegedly provided products labelled as British when they were in fact sourced from South America and Europe.
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“The initial retailer was notified at the same time the NFCU acted against the food business suspected of the fraud.”
“We are looking into all new lines of inquiry with our partner organisations, including any potential food hygiene breaches, and acting where necessary to protect public health,” he added.
“At a time when cost pressures and other challenges mean the risks of food fraud might be increasing, it is vital that everyone involved in the food chain works to ensure that food is safe and what it says it is.”
The FSA issued a warning that food supply chain fraud may be increasing as a result of industry-wide price inflation.
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The British Retail Consortium spoke on behalf of the impacted supermarkets when they said, “The Food Standards Agency’s is to work with retailers to prevent fraud.
“Whilst we cannot comment on an ongoing investigation, retailers will support the FSA with its investigation into the individual supplier in question.”
Conservative Sir Robert Goodwill, chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, was ‘appalled’ to read the Farmers Weekly’s report.
He said: “The Foods Standards Agency in the report, it’s quite clear they have been misled and hoodwinked by these operators.
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“So is there a case to bring the FSA within Defra rather than in the Department of Health and Social Care where it is now?”
Environment Secretary Therese Coffey believes that the investigation was ‘interesting’, adding: “It is true that the Food Standards Agency, it’s a non-ministerial department and is accountable to the Department of Health and Social Care… there is active engagement.
“But the machinery of Government change he proposes is one of interest, and I will consider that in line with the Prime Minister.”
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This comes after the NFCU claimed that a supermarket in the UK had been given pre-packaged meat and deli products from South America and Europe under the label “British.”
The NFCU stated earlier this month that the concerned retailer has now taken all impacted products off of its shelves.