As an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) who has been out of local authority employment for more than 10 years, I have a couple of points to make regarding the horse meat scandal ("Lasagne horse meat warning", The Herald, February 8).
First, I think this is an indictment of the rush to light-touch regulation of industry in general and the food industry in particular. These days most large manufacturers have entered a primary authority arrangement with a local authority whereby the authority is responsible for the oversight of any regulatory actions carried out by all other authorities. In reality this means a lot of the previous checks and balances of local EHOs – for example, taking food samples throughout the UK – have fallen by the wayside. If you let these companies effectively self-regulate you will get results like those we have seen recently.
Secondly, I find it astonishing the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it has asked Findus (and presumably other manufacturers) to carry out tests on their products to ensure their safety and "nature, quality and substance". Surely the FSA and local authority EHOs should be carrying out this task to ensure the efficacy of the results, since the manufacturers have been found wanting in this matter already.
It just reinforces the need to buy local and be sure of the provenance of the meat you consume.
12 Stewart Road,
The problem: horse meat discovered in certain supermarket products.
The answer: use your local butcher. The provenance is known and the quality may be better.
R Russell Smith,
96 Milton Road,
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