The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) have released a series of recommendations for the meat processing industry following a six-month review.

The review was originally announced in February and comes in response to a number of high profile non-compliance issues identified at meat cutting plants.

By issuing recommendations, FSA and FSS aim to improve compliance and assurance in the meat processing industry.

Food regulators focused on how existing arrangements could work better and address the root causes of common issues, not just the symptoms.

FSA chief executive Jason Feeney said: “We launched this review following a series of high profile events over the last 12 months at a number of meat businesses. These incidents cast a shadow over the whole sector and not just the businesses directly at fault. This challenged consumer confidence and trust in the industry as a whole.

“This in-depth review has identified actions that the meat industry and the regulatory authorities can take to make improvements.”

“This in-depth review has identified actions that the meat industry and the regulatory authorities can take to make improvements.

“There are good reasons why the meat industry has specific controls in place to protect public health and provide assurance about the authenticity of meat products on the market.”

Recommendations include greater industry involvement to produce clearer guidance meeting the needs of food businesses, as well as increased focus on skills and capabilities.

In addition, recommendations emphasised the need for greater transparency by sharing information across the industry, as well as with the regulators, effective use of data by regulatory authorities and improved coordination and consistency.

Regulators intend to trial the feasibility of using a single organisation to deliver all official controls in one location.

Recommendations are subject to approval from each organisation’s board at a meeting in Edinburgh on 17 October.