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FSA issues warning about safety of meat sold on Facebook

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The Food Standards Agency has warned about potentially unsafe meat sold via Facebook.

Implicated meat products were supplied before Jan. 15 by an unregistered and unapproved Wiltshire-based vendor. It is understood that distribution has occurred nationally across England, according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Brand names include Ushqime Organike, Bio UK; Ushqime BIO UK; Ushqime BIO and Wiltshire Farm Products, with all dates affected.

Authorities said the products are not compliant with food hygiene, safety, labeling and traceability requirements so they could be unsafe. Officials did not report any associated illnesses. The FSA advised people who have purchased the items not to eat them and dispose of the meat.

Warning when buying food on social media
Horsham District Council also alerted businesses and the public to the illegal meat seller marketing products via the social media site.

Meat including beef, lamb, veal and goat was processed in an unregistered establishment in the Wiltshire area of England.

Tricia Youtan, of Horsham District Council, said rules around the production and selling of food are strict for a reason.

“People selling unregulated food in this manner are putting the health of the general public at risk, as it is unlikely they would meet the required food and safety standards. I would urge residents to be wary of these types of sellers as the adverse health effects could be very serious,” she said.

John Carter, head of public protection at Wiltshire Council, said the FSA alert was issued with its knowledge and cooperation.

“We encourage all consumers who may be thinking about purchasing food from online vendors advertising on social media platforms to check that the food business is registered with a local authority and that they have a food hygiene rating. This demonstrates that they have been inspected for compliance with the law and hygienic food handling operations by food safety officers,” he said.

“All food businesses must register and some businesses who supply food of animal origin on a wholesale basis may require a specific approval, either by the local authority or the Food Standards Agency.”

Meat operation from car wash sites
In mid-December, environmental health officers from Wiltshire Council’s food and safety team removed over two tons of fresh meat, including beef, lamb and goat from sale to the public. This meat has been condemned and destroyed.

They found the meat being cut and packed for delivery throughout the UK at a second hand car wash site in Ludgershall.

The council’s team and an FSA veterinary officer searched an Andover Road business under warrant on Nov. 27 and found whole and part carcasses being cut in conditions where meat was at risk of contamination.

Officers had previously searched Devizes Hand Car Wash on New Park Street on Oct. 23, where they saw fresh meat being cut in a vehicle workshop in unhygienic conditions.

Both car washes and meat cutting activities were being carried out by the same company.

Emergency enforcement action in October prohibited the activity in Devizes and 2.7 tons of meat was seized as unfit for human consumption. Products were condemned by Swindon Magistrates Court, who granted a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order to stop work continuing.

The business was moved to the car wash site at Ludgershall but did not register with the council or seek approval from the FSA, despite a warning after the previous enforcement action.

Simon Jacobs, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Public Protection, said conditions at both car wash sites shocked officers.

“They found that even the most basic requirements such as clean food rooms, a hot water supply, washing facilities, the control of pests and basic welfare facilities for food handlers were missing. This business has put their customers at risk,” he said.

“The need for officers to have to act in this way, not once but twice, is an extremely serious matter and we are working very closely with the Food Standards Agency on further enforcement to safeguard the public.”

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