Response to the Daily Mail article about bush meat at Ridley Road Market
The Daily Mail published a story last weekend which claimed that illegal meat allegedly sold at Ridley Road market in Dalston could spread the Ebola virus. Hackney Council's Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Cllr Feryal Demirci, issued the following response:
Bush meat is illegal and, if found, is treated in the same way by the Hackney Environmental Health team as any other illegal food in line with nationally set food standards regulations. The Environmental Health team works with partners to carry out thorough and regular inspections of shops, including those in Ridley Road, to check and dispose of illegal produce and products – this is taken extremely seriously.
The Hackney Environmental Health Team undertook a number of actions with multi-agency partners following the media report in 2012 that looked at the selling of bush meat from local businesses at Ridley Road. A robust inspection of Ridley Road businesses took place, resulting in the serving of notices, the distribution of advice and information about illegal meats and a programme of inspections that continue today.
Council officers continue to engage with Ridley Road businesses and there is a dedicated member of the team that investigates any allegations of illegal activity. No bush meat has been found by Hackney Environmental Health since 2012. As part of the regular programme of inspections, a full inspection of the Ridley Road businesses and nearby businesses was carried out on 25 July and no bush meat was found. Regular inspections will continue.
The council works extremely closely with the Food Standards Agency and Public Health, responding to advice, information and guidance about all matters under their remit, including the risks associated with the Ebola virus.