Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - Consumers are entitled to demand that the food they buy and eat is as safe as it can be, and I fully support that principle but, in our anxiety to put in place regulations which will work, giving consumers the guarantees they require, we should not throw out existing measures which are already proving effective. I find it unbelievable that the present independent meat inspection system in the UK could be bettered by adopting the same style of controls currently operating in the poultry sector. To anyone who has visited a modern poultry processor, it will be obvious that the process is entirely different from that which applies in an abattoir. Of course I accept that controls are put in place from farm to plate, but surely it makes sense to retain those parts of the chain which are successful, and to add in controls in areas where improvement is seen to be required. For that reason I will be opposing the parts of this package which would dismantle or privatise the independent meat inspection service.

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