F.S.A. TURNS DEAF EAR TO PRACTICAL COMMON SENSE
Nanette Milne MSP, 11/07/2003
Whilst welcoming the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) recommendation that the Over Thirty Months (OTM) rule be replaced with BSE testing, North East Scotland MSP, Nanette Milne has blasted the FSA for it's lack of understanding and flexibility, and has proposed a more phased and measured approach to the removal of the OTM rule, a view which is favoured by everyone in the industry. Nanette said:
“I welcome the news that the FSA is able to recommend this change due to the continual and steep decline of BSE in the UK over the past ten years, and it will give a boost to the beef industry. However, a gradual approach is essential for the removal of the OTM rule.
“DEFRA has spent too much money - £360 million a year on the OTM scheme alone - to get us to this position only to risk it all by implementing the recommendations that will allow animals born after August 1996 into the food chain from January 2004 and then completely remove the scheme by July 2005.
“What is needed is a phased reintroduction of OTM beef over a longer period of time. This more gradual approach is vital if the economic sustainability of the Scottish beef industry, which has taken so long to rebuild, is to be maintained.
"Furthermore that would allow consumer confidence to be upheld with no questions asked, rather than the summary removal of the OTM scheme, which is bound to leave questions unanswered by the press and public alike."