Green light for abattoir to open again after raid

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A YORKSHIRE abattoir that was shut down by officials investigating the horsemeat scandal has been given the green light to resume operations.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) suspended work at the Peter Boddy Licensed Slaughterhouse in Todmorden following a raid last month.

Yesterday, however, the FSA announced that the suspension – put in place as part of an investigation into the mislabelling of meat products – had been lifted.

In a statement, it said: “The FSA has required the establishment to provide guarantees before allowing it to operate again.

“The FSA has also informed the business that it will not hesitate to withdraw its approval in the future if there is sufficient evidence that there is non-compliance with all requirements placed on food business operators.”

The decision was welcomed by abattoir owner Mr Boddy – but he also criticised the FSA for shutting him down in the first place.

“I am very pleased. We have done nothing wrong at all and we have just been used as scapegoats,” he said. “The damage and the trauma this has caused has been unbelievable. I am going to have to basically build up another business now – and someone is going to pay for that.”

Mr Boddy was arrested on suspicion of fraud in connection with the supply of horsemeat following the raid on his premises. Last night he said he was due to answer bail next month but had no other information about the police case.

Yesterday’s announcement regarding the Todmorden abattoir came after council bosses in Sheffield revealed a shake-up in their catering practices in the light of the horsemeat controversy.

Sheffield Council banned all processed meats from school dinners two weeks ago. Tests have since found no trace of horse meat in any food served to pupils.

The council has, however, said that all burgers should be made from freshly-sourced local meat and prepared on site in school kitchens, where appropriate.

Coun Jackie Drayton, the council’s cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: “We have every confidence in our school meals contractors and their selected suppliers, but we take the safety of the young people in our schools very seriously.

“It’s great to be able to reassure parents that the meals served have maintained the high standards we all demand and will continue to do so.”

The FSA yesterday announced the latest results of its UK-wide survey of beef products as part of its surveillance programme.

It said preliminary tests had uncovered seven samples from six different products that could contain horse DNA above one per cent. Further tests will now be carried out to verify those findings.

The FSA’s checks have also found three products with levels of pig DNA above one per cent – Asda’s spaghetti and meatballs, its beef cannelloni and Apetito beef lasagne.

Both Asda products have been withdrawn from sale. Apetito has indicated that almost all of its product will have been served, although unused stock can be returned.

Yesterday’s test results represent the first and second phase of testing by the FSA, with samples taken from a wide range of businesses including shops, wholesale and catering suppliers to schools and hospitals.

The FSA launched its investigation following the discovery in January of horsemeat in processed beef products sold by a number of supermarket chains.

On Tuesday it said it rejected criticism of its failure to identify the presence of horse DNA in processed meat products sooner.

Chief executive Catherine Brown told a meeting of the FSA’s board: “We have been irritated by suggestions that we were in some way asleep on the job, suggestions that come from those who speak with the benefit of perfect hindsight. I have yet to see any evidence of someone highlighting, whether in public or private, that this was likely to happen.

“And this criticism ignores the fact that, if we missed something, so did our counterparts in every European member state and every food business in the UK and in Europe.”