Two Gloucestershire’s slaughterhouses were potentially putting public health at risk by failing to meet animal welfare regulations.
More than one in six meat plants and abattoirs in the county (18 per cent) have at least one ‘major non-compliance’ with animal welfare regulations – far higher than the average across England (three per cent).
A major non-compliance is one that is likely to compromise public health if it is not put right by the business.
Inspectors from the Food Standards Agency found that P J King and Son slaughterhouse in Gloucester was potentially putting public health at risk by failing to properly remove ‘visible contamination’ of the meat, as well as potentially putting animals at risk of unnecessary suffering during killing.
Regulators also found that Universal Traders Gloucester, another slaughterhouse in the city, was also potentially putting public health at risk by failing to adequately ensure that no ‘specified risk materials’ entered the food chain.
Gloucestershire Live has contacted P J King and Son and Universal Traders Gloucester via telephone and email requesting a comment. Neither provided a comment at the time of going to press.
Specified risk materials, such as brains, eyes and spinal cords, can lead to deadly diseases such as BSE (also known as ‘mad cow disease’).
Across England, Wales and Northern Ireland more than two in five meat plants and abattoirs have been found to have at least one major non-compliance with health or animal welfare regulations (41 per cent).
This includes 27, all in England, which inspectors found to be potentially putting animals at risk of unnecessary suffering (three per cent).
Inspectors also found that 15 meat plants and abattoirs were potentially putting consumers at risk by failing to ensure that body parts and by-products not intended for human consumption be identified and removed.
This can include organs liable to spread infectious diseases, such as spinal cords, or unsanitary by-products such as manure.
A Food Standards Agency spokesman said: “We carry out thousands of audits and unannounced inspections at meat production sites every year to verify food hygiene and animal welfare standards.
“The majority of sites were found to have no major issues and no imminent or serious risks to public health or animal welfare were detected in the latest audits.
“As a result, 99 per cent of sites currently have a Good or Generally Satisfactory audit score.”