Pig abscesses to be minced into sausages and pies

Date: Friday 11 October 2013

The European Parliament has rejected their own Health Committee recommendation and voted to change the regulation on the inspection of pigs in slaughterhouses. The changes will mean abscesses are minced into food.

BEUC the European Consumers association, the European Animal Welfare organisation and the European Veterinarian Federation all oppose the Commission proposals.

This decision removes the requirement for independent meat inspectors to cut lymph nodes in the pig’s head and states that during routine inspection the pig carcase should not be touched. Making it impossible to inspect all of the pig meat, especially if the carcase is not cut into two halves before inspection. A trial carried out earlier this year showed that the changes led to a 50% increase in undetected dangerous contamination with pig faeces.

Most meat from pig’s heads is minced into meat products, sausages, pies etc. Last year in the UK 37,000 abscesses were found in pigs heads alone. The Commission changes will lead to most of this diseased meat not being detected during meat inspection and so minced into food.

UNISON Scotland’s Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, Dave Watson said:

“The European Parliament has put the interests of profit before consumer safety. It appears they have learnt nothing from the horse meat and other food scandals. UNISON is calling on the Scottish Government to put consumers first and make it clear that Scotland will retain proper independent inspection of meat products.”


For information please contact:
Dave Watson, Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, 07958 122 409

Notes to editors:

1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing 160,000 members working in the public sector in Scotland, including meat inspectors, environment health inspectors and catering staff across public services.

2. Further details on the European Working Community for Food-Inspection and Consumer Protection website www.ewfc.org

3. UNISON Scotland briefing on cuts in food safety and environmental healthhttps://unison-scotland.org.uk/briefings/ b031_BargainingBrief_CutsinFoodSafety+EnvironmentalHealth_Feb2013.pdf

4. Response to Scottish Government consultation on a new food safety body in Scotland https://unison-scotland.org.uk/response/
AHealthierScotland_CreatingaNewFoodBody_ SubmissiontoScottishGovernment_May2013.pdf

5. Some pictures here