Asked for the Prime Minister’s reaction to Sir Mervyn King’s suggestion that economic recovery is in sight, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) said that the Prime Minister’s view was that the economy was healing.
Asked whether the Prime Minister was concerned that British firms were mislabelling meat, the PMS said that, as the Secretary of State had said, it was totally unacceptable if businesses had defrauded the public. Investigations were ongoing. The raids had resulted from the audit of horse abattoirs that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) had begun several weeks ago, after the first evidence of contamination had come to light. The Secretary of State would be in Europe today to discuss the issue and Mr Heath would have a further meeting with suppliers in the UK. The approach being taken by the Government and the FSA was the right one.
Asked whether the Prime Minister was satisfied that the FSA had acted quickly enough, the PMS said that action taken by the FSA and the police had been the result of work the FSA had put in place as soon as evidence of contamination emerged on 15 January.
Asked about the health risks of processed meat, the PMS said there was no reason to believe any frozen food on sale was unsafe or a danger to health.
Asked about British relations with the Romanian Government, the PMS said Britain would work closely with Agriculture Ministries across Europe to understand what had gone on. The British cooperation with all governments was close, constructive and would allow lessons to be learnt.