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Yorkshire slaughter boss admits horsemeat charges

Peter Boddy Credit: Press Association

A West Yorkshire slaughterhouse boss has became the first person to plead guilty to criminal charges connected to the horsemeat scandal which rocked British supermarkets last year.

Peter Boddy, 65, admitted failing to comply with food traceability regulations which state the source of meat should be traceable from field to fork.

Boddy, who runs a slaughterhouse in Todmorden, admitted selling 50 horses for meat but failing to keep proper records to show who bought them.

There is no suggestion that buyers did not know they were purchasing horse meat.

Prosecutors said they did not know where the meat might have ended up.

Boddy's slaughterhouse in Todmorden Credit: Press Association

Wearing a beige jacket and blue shirt, Boddy stood in the dock at London's Southwark Crown Court and pleaded guilty to the single count.

David Moss, the slaughterhouse's manager, denied forging an invoice concerning the number of horses sold in a transaction.

Both men are also charged with failing to comply with food traceability requirements for more than 17 horse carcasses between July 2012 and February 2013.

But they did not enter pleas and intend to apply for the charge to be dismissed.

The pair will stand trial next year, at a date to be confirmed, at Southwark Crown Court.

Horsemeat scandal: One year on

It is one year since the horse meat scandal first hit the headlines.

Some supermarket shelves were cleared as traces of horse meat were found in everyday pre-packed food.

12 months on, the consumer watchdog, Which, claims consumers still are not being properly protected. They say too little hygiene sampling of food has been carried out in some areas - including West Yorkshire.

Chris Kiddey reports.

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Horsemeat scandal: Testing not consistent

The consumer watchdog Which says overall food testing has fallen by nearly seven per cent.

It claims that no official hygiene sampling was carried out at all in two local authority areas - West Yorkshire and West Lindsey in 2012/13.

Which says it's worrying that local authority food checks are in decline in the light of the horse meat scandal which broke a year ago.

Richard Lloyd, Executive Director of Which, says testing of food is not consistent enough.

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UK has 'perhaps the safest food in the world'

The FDF's Barbara Gallani said the overwhelming amount of food in the UK was safe. Credit: Daybreak/ITV

British consumers have access to "perhaps the safest food in the world" after the horse meat scandal, according to a food expert.

Barbara Gallani, from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) told Daybreak the Government acknowledged there were "some vulnerabilities, some areas where consumers and business are exposed", which they were dealing with after the horse meat scandal.

"The changes that have been put in place are quite wide-ranging; first of all there are more announced audits in businesses. The testing regime has been reviewed, informed by risk assessments that are now based on a much broader range of data.

"What we have learned is a much better sharing of data and intelligence, to make sure we know where the risks are."

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LGA: It's up to manufacturers to ensure food safety

Responding to a study by Which? that highlights the "worrying decline" in local authority food checks a year on from the horsemeat scandal, the Local Government Association said the ultimate responsibility for food safety lies with manufacturers, retailers and suppliers.

Random sampling is just one tool available to councils and a reduction in testing does not mean an increased safety risk to the public.

Targeting high-risk businesses and acting on complaints is a far more effective use of their limited resources and also allows councils to free up responsible businesses from unnecessary inspections and red tape.

It is ultimately the responsibility of food manufacturers, retailers and suppliers to ensure the products they produce or sell comply fully with food law, are fit for consumption and won't risk public safety.

– Nick Worth, the Local Government Association's regulation spokesman
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MP calls for improvements to food supply chain

The public has to accept retailers are 'under huge pressure' to provide low cost food, Anne McIntosh said. Credit: Daybreak/ITV

Food supply chains need to be examined and a network of analysts must be set up if the UK is to avoid another horse meat scandal, an influential MP has told Daybreak.

Head of the environment, food and rural affairs committee, Anne McIntosh, said the horse meat scandal had exposed security issues in Britain's food supply chain.

"If you look at the distance that some of the food was travelling that goes into these processed foods - a. It is a false economy, b. The traceability is much more difficult to secure," she said.

"I think we have to accept that retailers are under huge pressure to provide cheap food," Ms McIntosh added.

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Food testing down 6.8% over the past year

There is a "huge variation" in food hygiene standards across the UK, according to a Which? investigation launched in the wake of the horse meat scandal.

Food testing by local authorities fell by 6.8% over the past year, the group found.

The investigation by the consumer group into 395 local authorities across the UK used Food Standards Agency data and found:

  • Bexley in London was the poorest performing local authority, with five other London councils in our bottom 10 (Ealing, Enfield, Harrow, Richmond upon Thames and Southwark).
  • Cherwell District Council in North Oxfordshire was rated as the best performing local authority.
  • No official hygiene sampling was carried out at all by Bexley, Christchurch, Isles of Scilly, Medway, Tamworth, West Lindsey and West Yorkshire in 2012/13.
  • The overall testing rate fell by 6.8% in 2013.
  • Testing for labelling and presentation fell by 16.2%
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Shopping habits 'changed' by horse meat scandal

Almost one third are disillusioned with their supermarket after the horse meat scandal at the beginning of last year, a poll for Daybreak has revealed.

The Peter Boddy slaughterhouse, one of two British processing plants which were raided and shut down because of the horse meat scandal. Credit: PA

A One Poll survey found almost one third no longer had faith in supermarkets after traces of horse DNA were found in Tesco value burgers in mid-January 2013.

More than a third now spent extra time checking the contents of their food, the poll revealed.

A further 25% had stopped buying value food products altogether.

Slaughterhouse back in business

The West Yorkshire slaughterhouse at the centre of the horsemeat scandal is back in business this evening. The abattoir in Todmorden which was raided by food standards inspectors and police has been allowed to operate again three weeks after it was shut down.

It was suspected of selling horsemeat and passing it off as beef that would eventually end up in kebabs and burgers. Jon hill reports from Todmorden.

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