Letter: Doubts on UK beef
Tuesday 23 November 1999
Firstly, traceability of cattle. When a new calf is born here its owner is responsible for putting the identity tag in its ear. In France, no farmer is trusted to do this, as I know from seven years in France with 14 suckler cows. Each year a Ministry of Agriculture man arrived; he tagged the calves and entered their detailed particulars in triplicate in my log book.
My vet, on receiving his copy, gave me green tickets for each calf, and when I sold the calves, these tickets had to travel with them. Drivers feared fines if they departed with even one green ticket missing.
A central computer covering France has recorded all this for a long time, but a similar system has existed here only since the CJD panic, and it is still not working reliably.
Then there are slaughterhouse conditions. Here, local authorities send inspectors to ensure that slaughter takes place correctly. It is common knowledge that there are not enough funds for inspectors, and that often the slaughterhouse workers (in a hurry) prefer to keep inspectors as far off as possible. There is intimidation.
The French believe that in these circumstances it is likely that the necessary checks cannot all get made, that defective meat of all kinds can get through, and that the British performance is haphazard if not slovenly.
The beef men have no chance of getting their carcasses to France and the other nervous importers of our meat while questions remain about traceability and the standards in our abattoirs.
musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery reports: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 2 Salisbury ranked seventh-best city in the world to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015
- 3 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 4 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Disney announces new female-led film Moana
Eight seconds of white noise is top of the Canadian iTunes chart because people love Taylor Swift that much
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt is intriguing as unsympathetic war hero
American Horror Story season 4, Fox - TV review: Sensitive, silly and sensational
Is Poppy Pym the new Harry Potter? Children's bookseller wins Independent's new author search
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms