Foodwatch and the Dutch state in court on June 9

Food watchdog foodwatch has recently announced that it will launch a lawsuit against the Dutch state regarding machine-separated meat. Foodwatch has summoned the state in a preliminary lawsuit. The trial will be heard at an oral hearing that will take place on June 9, 2022 at. 11:00 at the Palace of Justice in The Hague.

Foodwatch’s in-depth research shows that the state neglects food safety. The state can not specify where machine-separated meat comes from and which products contain machine-separated meat (no traceability), which means that the state can not enforce it properly. In order to be able to supervise machine-separated meat, the state must know where the machine-separated meat comes from and in which products it is processed (insufficient enforcement and no proper labeling). The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) has insufficient people and resources to monitor and intervene if something goes seriously wrong (no capacity).

If it is found that the Dutch state is not sufficiently complying with its traceability obligations, it could pose serious (health) risks to the Dutch consumer because mechanically separated meat is susceptible to rapid bacterial growth. These bacteria can cause serious intestinal diseases. Furthermore, the consumer can not find out if and, if so, which machine-separated meat has been used in purchased foods. For example, the consumer may be presented with the cheapest meat leftovers for which he has paid way too much money. The state can not trace ‘wrong’ or unsafe mechanically separated meat, let alone prevent this mechanically separated meat from entering the food chain. Furthermore, the state can not address the perpetrators of the chain because it does not know exactly where the machine-separated meat comes from. Foodwatch takes the view that the state thus does not comply with European rules (General Food Law, EC Regulation 178/2002) in order to take preventive measures against health hazards and deception in the food area.

Nicole van Gemert, director of foodwatch: “It is very important to have transparent food chains. The same goes for machine-separated meat. We simply can not get a picture of the chain. How can the government act in a timely manner? Do you even want to take preventative measures? The state places enormous risks on the health and wallet of the Dutch consumer. This is not only a danger to public health, but is also in breach of European rules. For all these reasons, foodwatch has gone to court. “

The Risks of Pink Slime

Separator meat is the amorphous pink or gray mass of meat, also known as ‘injection meat’, ‘scrap meat’ or ‘pink slime’, obtained from the carcases of slaughtered animals. Especially in poultry, sometimes pigs. Separator meat carries the necessary risks. First, a health risk: Bacteria feel at home in MSM because it is so finely ground, which means they can grow faster into dangerous numbers. Secondly, an information risk: mechanically separated meat can be sold (at a more expensive price) as fresh meat or quality meat without mentioning it on the label. Finally, you also do not know what you are eating: chicken nuggets may contain meat other than chicken, which may not conform to certain beliefs or preferences.

A new poll commissioned by foodwatch shows that 74% of consumers do not know which products contain machine-separated meat. 90% have never seen it on the label, while 91% think it’s important.

Failure to comply with the law

The lack of insight into MSM is not the consumer’s fault: Even NVWA and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport can not tell foodwatch how (the supervision of) distribution and processing of MSM is designed. The state simply has no idea who, where, how much MSM produces, processes and distributes, and how much MSM is found and consumed in the Netherlands.

  1. No traceability: The state does not seem to know which products contain mechanically separated meat and where it is produced.
  2. No enforcement: The state does not enforce European rules (regarding the production, hygiene and labeling of mechanically separated meat) or ignore them (consciously or not).
  3. No capacity: NVWA’s oversight of mechanically separated meat and the meat industry is inadequate, jeopardizing food safety.

This is problematic. The greater the risk of consumers getting sick from an ingredient, the better we need to know exactly what products it contains: no traceability, no enforcement … and therefore no food safety.

consumer law

With the lawsuit, Foodwatch wants to guarantee that the state fulfills its obligations (General Food Law, EC Regulation 178/2002) to protect the health and interests of consumers, by taking adequate preventive measures.

A poll shows that 85% of consumers believe it is important for the foodwatch to be able to sue the state if consumers’ rights are violated, such as the right to safe food.

Source food clock

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