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Meat use-by dates: an exercise in both risk and crisis management

Recent high-profile product recalls and withdrawals have shaken the confidence of retail buyers and consumers alike. To complicate matters, there has been considerable confusion when trying to distinguish between failures to follow guidance (which can be remedied) and serious, fraudulent or criminal activity. Nick Allen looks at what processors and manufacturers can do to protect themselves.

use-by dates meat

The larger retail and hospitality chains have in-house technical teams they can call on to navigate their way through the complicated, and in some cases overly precautionary, official food safety guidance. They can separate fraud from less serious enforcement issues and work constructively with their suppliers to ensure they are applying the right rules to different meat products.

However, smaller groups, intermediate food manufacturers and individual buyers often lack that detailed information and have been imposing a blanket restriction on product use-by dates without understanding the full facts. This has led to needless food waste and disruption to the supply of products that would actually comply with the FSA’s guidance.

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