Letters to the Editor

Readers of City A.M.
EU food testing

[Re: Horse row no laughing matter – but NHS scandal even worse, yesterday]

On the subject of Britain’s food chain, this article completely misses the point – along with most of the media. Food testing is an EU competence as part of the Single Market. All the faults, therefore, lie with the system that the EU has created. During a meat product’s passage through the various production stages, the only thing that is checked is the paperwork accompanying the meat – nobody looks at the meat itself. Everyone passes it on, having checked that the paperwork is in order. If the meat has originated within the Single Market – as is the case in the current horse meat scandal – the UK authorities have no power to check any further if the paperwork is correct. To do so would breech EU rules. Only once an issue has been raised – just like faulty breast implants or hip joints – are the UK authorities allowed to carry out any checks. As far as the supermarkets go, they are no doubt happy to accept supplies based on the paperwork being correct. To do otherwise would incur further costs and would be seen as questioning the EU’s system. Owen Patterson tried to explain how this all works at the weekend, but the media turned “EU competence” into “EU incompetence” – begging the question who is the most incompetent?

Gerry Lightfoot



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