The Two Sides of Inspection

Jul25

The current focus on practices in poultry plants has thrown rather an unfair light on the role of official inspection. With a full time presence in large plants there has been expressed an expectation that those professionals have the ability to oversee everything. This is far from the truth.

It is the responsibility of the Food Business Operator (FBO) to produce safe food. This includes having systems in place that quickly identify and correct failures that occur, whether that failure is in machinery or how employees conduct themselves. The official veterinarian, while he or she may be the one to spot an error, has an advisory and enforcement role. It is a system that supports the work of responsible FBOs and penalises consistent poor performance. It is one industry has faith in and values as an important part of food production.

There is another side to inspection that is in need of attention, of microbiological safety. It is an area where science and knowledge has vastly overtaken legislation. Existing European legislation on poultry meat inspection is based on a visual system. In essence, a person watching 10,000 birds an hour go past. Visual assessment will remain an important tool in checking bird health and welfare, identifying failures in the process, and ensuring quality requirements are met. However, we now know that food safety risks in poultry production are predominantly microbiological. This can’t be seen with the naked eye, and must be assessed by rigorous sampling and testing regimes.

There are legislative controls on the majority of pathogens associated with meat and poultry production, although not yet on campylobacter, and these are applied on the farm and in the slaughterhouse. Campylobacter controls across Europe are essentially voluntary. The British industry has taken the collective decision to drive forward on campylobacter controls, and it is leading the way on developing techniques and technologies to deal with the issue.

Across Europe, industry is calling on the Commission to change its outdated legislation to be risk-based and flexible enough to match developing knowledge and technology on campylobacter. What is needed is to focus resources where they can have the greatest effect in ensuring safe food.

At its best, legislation supports and enables an FBO to produce and deliver an optimum product to consumers. At its worst it can be a barrier to best practice, a regulatory “computer says no”.

FBO responsibility and official inspection are two sides of the same coin, and either one should not be debated in isolation. Both are responsible and professional, and can contribute to campylobacter reduction. We have an opportunity now to have an open and honest review of the tools we need.

The Guardian: BPC response

Jul24

Today, The Guardian has published a series of allegations against two members of the British Poultry Council.

The individual incidents shown appear to be breaches of good hygiene and manufacturing practice. They will be thoroughly investigated and corrective action taken to ensure they are not repeated. However, they are isolated events and are in no way representative of the high standards of the chicken industry as a whole.

Food safety is the top priority for British Poultry Council members. The members concerned have strenuously denied the allegations accompanying the images, and have restated their commitment to producing safe food for all their customers. The BPC stands beside them in their commitment to customer service excellence. The companies concerned have made more detailed statements, which can be accessed using the links below.

http://www.2sfg.com/

media@faccenda.co.uk

All BPC members are proud of their high quality produce, which is safely enjoyed by millions of British consumers every day. Poultry is the UK’s favourite meat and consumers can enjoy it safe in the knowledge that it has been produced to high and externally audited standards.

Campylobacter: BPC Position

Jul24

Campylobacter is a naturally occurring bacteria found in the gut of many animals. It is a global issue and all those involved in supplying meat have a role to play in reducing campylobacter. People handling fresh chicken and other meats – whether in restaurant kitchens or in the home – should always follow good hygiene practices and cook food thoroughly as this kills campylobacter.

The poultry industry has been working hard to tackle campylobacter and we fully recognise our responsibility to ensure the food we produce is safe. We have worked with the FSA, DEFRA, BRC and the NFU since 2009, through a Joint Working Group, on a reduction plan. The partnership approach has been successful in driving industry-wide efforts.

Over the last five years, over 70 scientific research projects have been conducted and new trials are currently taking place. While much new information has been obtained through these projects, more work is required to find a consistent means of reduction. We are seeking to update food hygiene legislation specifically to minimise campylobacter.

We have improved biosecurity standards within our independently audited assurance schemes and are utilising new rapid-testing techniques for data collection. We are also focusing on employee education and making sure poultry employees continue to have the effective tools to implement campylobacter reduction measures. Last, but not least, we are pushing forward with proven slaughterhouse interventions.

Over the next 18 months, BPC members will be moving to a delivery phase with large scale trials and implementation of those measures that are most promising for campylobacter reduction. We continue to work closely with all the Joint Working Group partners to implement effective measures against campylobacter as soon as practicable. 

CONSUMERS SAY PRICE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR

Jul21

21 July 2014 – Price is the most important factor for consumers when choosing which meat to buy and eat, with over three-fifths (61%) saying this has the biggest impact on their decision. Appearance is an important factor for a third of consumers (33%), followed closely by taste (31%). Consumers in the South West and aged 18-24 (both 70%) are the most price conscious, whereas those aged 65 and over are the least likely to prioritise cost (only 45%).

Following the horsemeat crisis in January 2013, the poultry industry has continued to flourish with one in five respondents (19%) saying they now eat more poultry than beef, pork or other meat.

The survey conducted by Populus on behalf of the BPC shows that buying British is a priority for many consumers with 60% reporting that they always (22%) or mostly (38%) make sure that the meat they buy is British. 29% of Scots say they always buy British meat, compared to only 14% of those in Yorkshire and Humber.

Commenting on the figures, Andrew Large, Chief Executive of the British Poultry Council, said: “The UK poultry industry continues to feed the nation. British provenance remains important for the majority of consumers and so we will strive to provide them with high quality, healthy and affordable products.”

British Poultry Council increases support for Harper Adams students

Jul15

The British Poultry Council’s support for Harper Adams University students is growing this year, with two more companies joining the BPC scholarships scheme and each financial award being increased by £1,000, to £4,500 per year.

The BPC has sponsored scholarships for Harper Adams’ students for four years. Students compete for the awards, which provide the winning scholars with funding for up to two academic years plus a guaranteed, paid placement year with a partner company.

Banham Poultry Ltd and Two Sisters Food Group have entered the scheme this year, joining Aviagen, Bernard Matthews Foods, Cargill Meats Europe, Faccenda Foods, Gressingham Foods, PD Hook, Kelly Turkeys and Moy Park.

The companies will present their work placement opportunities to second year students on agriculture and food courses in the autumn, ready to receive their scholars in summer 2015.

Andrew Large, Chief Executive of the BPC, said: “The British Poultry Council is again delighted to be working with Harper Adams University in support of the poultry scholarships.

“We attach the utmost importance to recruiting, developing and retaining the best talent into the poultry meat sector and look forward to working with our members, the scholars and Harper Adams University to offer the widest possible opportunities to experience all that the poultry sector has to offer.”

Harper Adams University Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Llewellyn, added: “We were delighted to learn that the BPC is expanding its support for our students. The addition of two companies to the scheme and the increase in the scholarships’ financial value are very welcome, and can only serve to enhance the scheme’s objective to draw new talent into the poultry industry.

“The scheme has been hugely successful – students who had not previously considered working in poultry have been attracted to these opportunities and have graduated determined to make their careers in the sector, many returning to their placement employer following their work experience year.

“We look forward to introducing our students to Banham Poultry Ltd and Two Sisters Food Group this year, and are extremely pleased that they have decided to join this ground-breaking collaboration between industry and the University.”

[Ends]

Food Security Inquiry

Jul02

Following the publication of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee’s report into Food Security, which can be found here, Andrew Large has responded:

“We are pleased that the Committee has given serious consideration to Food Security. It remains an important issue not only for the food industry, but for all in the UK. There are important matters raised in this report. The Government should consider them carefully and indicate in its response how the UK’s food security can be ensured.”

“As per our evidence to the Committee we particularly welcome the Committee’s focus on the strategic risk posed by animal feed imports. In January of this year 70% of our members said feed prices were the single most important factor in their overall cost of production. The poultry meat sector expects that this will be an important element of future UK food security policy.”

UK Poultry Health Standards

Jun23

Please find a summary of information concerning health schemes and freedom from disease in the UK poultry breeding industry here.

Poultry Meat – the Healthy Alternative

Jun20

The following is a link to the article: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/../../andrew-large/poultry-meat_b_5511632.html

BPC Research Reveals Poultry is the UK’s Number 1 Meat

Jun16

BPC Research Reveals Poultry is the UK’s Number 1 Meat

Almost seven tenths of people buy and consume more poultry meat than any other meat, new research for the British Poultry Council (BPC) has revealed. Research commissioned ahead of Food Safety Week (16 to 22 June) and carried out by Populus, shows that poultry meat (Chicken, Duck, Goose and Turkey) is the most popular meat to buy and eat for 69% of consumers, compared with  Beef for 16%, Pork for 11% and Lamb for 4% of those surveyed.

The findings also reveal that three quarters (76%) of women eat poultry more than other meats, compared to less than two thirds of men (63%). Poultry is also the younger respondent’s meat of choice with 79% of 18-24 year olds, 78% of 25-34 year olds, falling to 66% of 55-64 year olds, and 60% of those aged 65 and over – all eating poultry meat more than any other.

The findings are revealed on the launch of the Food Standard Agency’s annual Food Safety Week (Monday 16 to Sunday 22 June), which this year focuses on telling consumers “Don’t wash raw chicken”. The advice is designed to prevent any remaining bacteria in raw meat and juices being spread around the kitchen onto other food or preparation surfaces. Our survey also found that whilst 78% of people are confident they know how to minimise foodborne illness, around a third believe (31%) that consumers do not know enough to ensure the food is cooked safely and would benefit from further education.

[ENDS]

Phil Vickery, TV Chef, commented: “Decades ago, cookbooks advised that poultry should be washed before cooking but science has moved on and we now know this is not a good idea. It is therefore surprising that even in the last two years the number of people who say they always wash poultry has increased significantly. People handling fresh turkey, chicken and other meats – whether in restaurant kitchens or in the home – should always follow simple hygiene practices and cook food properly. Naturally occurring bacteria is killed by thorough cooking, as millions of people do on a daily basis.”

Andrew Large, Chief Executive of the British Poultry Council, said: “I’m not surprised that its Britain’s number one, poultry is a tasty, nutritious and versatile meat that represents great value for consumers. But it is important to prepare and cook poultry safely. Our research suggests there are some important gaps in consumers’ knowledge and it is vital that we support efforts to get the kitchen hygiene message across during Food Safety Week.”

To get across to consumers the important message about not washing chicken, BPC is creating a six second looping Vine video which will be shared across social media. It will be distributed during Food Safety Week. Please check our twitter handle @britishpoultry and our British Poultry Council Facebook page for further updates https://www.facebook.com/.

-ENDS-

Media contact

For more information call Rohini Bajekal on 020 7400 4480 or email bpc@hanovercomms.com.

Notes to Editors

1. About the British Poultry Council

The British Poultry Council is the leading representative organisation for companies and individuals engaged in breeding, hatching, rearing and processing chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese to produce poultry meat. BPC members are responsible for producing over 90% of the UK’s total output of poultry meat, which included nearly 875 million chicken broilers in 2012 (up from just over 780 million in 2001). Based on sales of £6.1 billion in 2012, the poultry meat industry made a £3.3 billion gross value added contribution to UK GDP. The industry supports 73,200 jobs in the UK – 35,400 direct, 25,100 in the supply chain and 12,800 in wage consumption). By weight, poultry makes up around half of all meat purchased in the UK. www.britishpoultry.org.uk

2. About the research

Populus interviewed 2,067 GB adults on 2 and 3 April 2014. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. For more details visit www.populus.co.uk

3. About Food Safety Week

During this annual initiative the FSA will share a number of tips about what consumers can do to protect themselves and their family from food poisoning in their own home, particularly when handling chicken.

The BPC and the Farming and Countryside Education (FACE) Join Forces

Jun06

London, 6 June 2014 – The BPC is pleased to announce that it is to work together with FACE in updating its resource materials for schools.

The update will allow all FACE’s stakeholders (pupils, teachers, the industry, Government and the media) access to the latest knowledge and expertise about the poultry meat sector. These resource materials will be used in FACE’s activities with secondary school pupils to explain career opportunities, during site visits, seminars and conferences.

The BPC will continue to help FACE in its central aim to encourage secondary school pupils to learn more about a career in agriculture.

Andrew Large, BPC’s Chief Executive, commented: “We are in full support of the work that FACE has done since its inception to encourage more young people into a career in this sector. That is why we have decided to work with FACE and integrate the careers and education pages of our website. We would like to work with FACE in its continued efforts to build a strong farming and educational community.”

Dan Corlett, FACE Chief Executive, commented: “We’re really pleased to be able to produce resources for a secondary school audience, especially those that can integrate learning in the classroom, with young people’s exploration of future careers. As a rapidly growing business sector, it’s really important that young people are aware of the opportunities within poultry, and farming as a whole, and have an idea of how the industry operates. Working with BPC means we are able to tap into industry-leading expertise so that the materials are both relevant and current for schools.  ”

-ENDS-

Media contact

Chris Potter – 07540 501 173 or cpotter@britishpoultry.org.uk

 

Notes to Editors

1. About the British Poultry Council

The British Poultry Council is the leading representative organisation for companies and individuals engaged in breeding, hatching, rearing and processing chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese to produce poultry meat. BPC members are responsible for producing over 90% of the UK’s total output of poultry meat, which included nearly 875 million chicken broilers in 2012 (up from just over 780 million in 2001). Based on sales of £6.1 billion in 2012, the poultry meat industry made a £3.3 billion gross value added contribution to UK GDP. The industry supports 73,200 jobs in the UK – 35,400 direct, 25,100 in the supply chain and 12,800 in wage consumption). By weight, poultry makes up around half of all meat purchased in the UK. www.britishpoultry.org.uk

2. About the Farming and Countryside Education (FACE)

FACE is a registered charity which is independent of any political party or movement. Our aim is to educate children and young people about food and farming in a sustainable countryside. We have around 80 partner member organisations. All have a commitment to educational work associated with food, farming and the countryside. We are always keen to recruit more members, from any part of the sector, who share our aims and objectives and would like to work in partnership. For more information about how to join FACE please go to the website – http://www.face-online.org.uk/about-face

3. BPC updated webpage
http://www.britishpoultry.org.uk/careers-education/secondary-schools/

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