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Wed 27 June 2012

'A new food standards body could see watering down of standards', says UNISON

UNISON response to implementation of Scudamore review

UNISON has today raised concerns that a new food standards body for Scotland could result in watering down of standards and says it must not be used as a backdoor to privatisation.

The union highlighted its concerns in response to an announcement by the Scottish Government to create a new body for food safety, food standards, nutrition, food labelling and meat inspection.

While UNISON is not opposed in principle to devolution, it says it is vital that any changes to the delivery of the Scottish Meat Inspection Service are aimed at enhancing consumer protection and animal welfare in Scotland.

Dave Watson, UNISON’s Scottish Organiser, said: “Our members are rightly concerned of any move that may weaken public protection and thereby damage the Scottish meat industry.

“We need to move away from the ‘boom and bust’ approach to regulation that has, in the past, resulted in serious outbreaks of food poisoning, such as the Wishaw ecoli outbreak.

“Any change to the delivery module of meat inspection in Scotland should ensure it is protecting the public, not serving industry, therefore we must ensure this is not used as a backdoor to privatisation.

“It is essential that the government works closely with our members to ensure the continued delivery of an effective meat hygiene inspection service in Scotland.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

· The Scudamore Review is a Scottish Government review on the future delivery of food standards in Scotland, led by the UK's former chief vet, Jim Scudamore. This follows the UK Government's decision in 2010 to absorb some of the policy areas overseen in England by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), back into Whitehall departments.

· For further information on UNISON’s view of the Scudamore Review please see http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/ndpb/meathygiene/MeatHygieneInspectorsNewsletterFeb2012.pdf

For further information please contact:

Dave Watson, UNISON’s Scottish Organiser on 07958 122 409

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