Horsemeat: Driver Lifts Lid On Breaches

A lorry driver who delivers meat has exclusively revealed to Sky News the serious breaches of food safety regulations that he sees every day.

Ali, which is not his real name, has worked in the haulage industry for seven years and delivers to all kinds of organisations across the north of England. 

He approached Sky News and wanted to talk to us because he believes the breaches he sees every day represent a public health risk.

Ali said: "On some deliveries the person that is receiving the product sometimes struggles to identify a multi line order if there is three or four different types of meat.

"They'll struggle to identify which meat is which.

"Sometimes they have to refer to the weights of the pallets being outlined on the delivery note

"I have seen cases where they have had to smell it to try and tell if it was lamb or beef."

Meat that has been imported into the UK should be accompanied with the appropriate documents but Ali insists the paperwork is often missing.

"Most of the deliveries of meat don't come with that paperwork - they come with a scribbled handwritten receipt out of a duplicate receipt book that has been attached to a piece of A4 paper and photocopied.

"Those sort of notes might have the product described just literally as 'meat' or 'frozen meat'.

"On a lot of occasions we won't have any documentation at all for that product."

The driver says he is "scared" by the way cheap meat is delivered around the UK.

"It is going to the most vulnerable people, going into hospitals, schools, old people's homes - there is a problem with the whole supply chain."

Ali says there are regular abuses of the strict temperature controls that he and his company are supposed to adhere to.

Ali says he tries to flag up problems to the management of his company but often just has to get the job done.

The experienced driver believes there is a sloppy attitude across the industry towards food safety but names Morrisons and Waitrose as the two companies that impress him with the rigorous checks they make on every delivery.

"I used to be a carnivore, a meal wasn't complete without meat - that is very different now. I only shop and feed my kids food from Morrisons and Waitrose because I see how they operate.

"In fact it is a joke amongst the drivers that it is a pain to deliver to Morrisons because they check everything - it takes ages and they often turn stuff away if it isn't up to scratch."