BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Scotland  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 10 December, 2002, 11:44 GMT
Food safety given thumbs up
Shop
John Barr's shop was at the centre of an E. coli outbreak
Food safety standards at butchers' shops have improved since the world's worst recorded outbreak of E.coli O157 poisoning, according to a report.

An independent report commissioned by the Food Standards Agency Scotland (FSA) said concerns had been addressed though lessons still had to be learned.

The Royal Environmental Health Insititute of Scotland (REHIS) said the public must learn how to complain about poor standards.

Twenty-one people died in 1996 after eating contaminated meat supplied by a butcher's shop in Wishaw, Lanarkshire.


Overall there is much we can learn from this in raising food standards and protecting consumer safety across the food chain from farm to fork

Dr George Paterson
FSA director

Butchers' Licensing Regulations were introduced in Scotland in October 2000.

The report highlighted measures taken to tighten safety after the infection was traced to a shop run by John Barr.

Its findings were based on interviews with officials at all 32 local authorities in Scotland, visits to 198 butchers' shops and the views of 1,893 meat consumers.

The study found:

  • 98% of supermarket butchers' food standards rated as excellent or acceptable

  • 86% of independent butchers had excellent or acceptable standards

  • local authorities and butchers faced challenges adopting new regulations

  • A lack of detail in guidance to local authorities led to inconsistencies in implementation of the legislation.

Dr Verner Wheelock, the report's author, said: "On the basis of this study, the case for extending the licensing system more generally is not proven.

"What is crucial for the future is that preparation is done properly, especially to try and ascertain problem areas that arise in work procedures, equipment, premises, training, guidance and inauguration.

"All of these needs must be resolved in advance, especially in relation to definitive procedures which should seek to achieve all-round agreement."

E.coli
E.coli claimed 21 lives in 1996

Dr George Paterson, FSA Scotland director, said: "Overall there is much we can learn from this in raising food standards and protecting consumer safety across the food chain from farm to fork.

"I am pleased that 73% of consumers believe effective measures have been taken to ensure safer meat.

"There is more good news when you see 98% of supermarket butchers and 86% of independents are achieving acceptable standards of food safety."

Andrew Jamieson, REHIS spokesman, said the public had a duty to improving safety standards.

He said educating people as to the factors of food safety was the first step and they should be prepared to act on concerns.

The licensing of butchers had had a positive effect on the standards of the food prepared for the public, he said.

Shop closed

Following the 1996 outbreak, an expert group headed by Professor Hugh Pennington recommended stringent safety procedures for food handling and storage.

John Barr's butcher's was closed for three months due to the outbreak, but reopened at the end of February 1997 after remedial work was carried out.

But it closed in April 1998 when the building began to collapse because of old mine workings.

In October, Mr Barr's son, Martin, applied for a bakery licence to operate at the premises.

See also:

24 Oct 02 | Scotland
31 Jul 00 | Scotland
19 Aug 98 | Health
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Scotland stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes