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Redating meat

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A source in the government inspection service, the Meat Hygiene Service, has told the magazine that at least one chicken processing plant was repackaging and redating raw chicken, sometimes several times, before passing it off as fresh meat. The trade union for meat inspectors, Unison, warned two years Redating meat that redating chicken was common practice in slaughterhouses.

The British Poultry Council denied the allegations, and said Which? Trading standards lead officer for food Phil Thomas confirmed that repacking and redating of meat and dairy produce did take place.

The consumer watchdog magazine says this nullifies use-by dates on packs. If a factory has a surplus at the end of one day, Redating meat can simply put a new use-by date on the pack and send it out the next.

There is no federal regulation...

It is concerned that the practice of redating surpluses at the end of the day could push the boundaries of quality and safety. The extension of use-by dates is particularly worrying with poultry, given that half of chicken sold by British retailers has been found in government surveys to be contami nated with the food poisoning bug campylobacter.

The result Redating meat be that chicken was re-dated day after day, with no records being kept. Part of the problem arises from today's system of "just-in-time" ordering. Retailers frequently change the volume of their orders to processors at very short notice.

They use bar code scanning at their tills to tell them how much they have sold and "Redating meat" need to restock for the next day.

The FSA said that manufacturers had a legal duty to produce chicken Redating meat is safe to eat - and this includes applying accurate use-by dates. Any producer who extended the use-by date on chicken, so that it was unfit by the time it reached the consumer, would be liable to prosecution under the Food Safety Act.

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